A gunman killed two people at his Texas home before going to a nearby nursing home and killing two others and himself in what investigators believe are related incidents, an official said.
The deaths in the Robstown area, near Corpus Christi and the Gulf of Mexico, are being investigated as murders and a suicide, Robstown city secretary Herman Rodriguez said.
Police said they first were called to a shooting at Robstown's Retama Manor Nursing Center around 7 p.m. There, they found three people dead -- a female and two males, including the shooter, police said.
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Healthcare facilites have been advised by the Joint Commission to address workplace violence against staffers.
In an alert released in April, the accrediting body warns healthcare to take seven steps to address the workplace violence. They say hospitals need to more clearly define what constitutes violence, better follow up with and support victims, and develop and assess prevention initiatives. The moves are considered recommendations but employers must take action if an employee faces violence, a Joint Commission spokeswoman said. Should it receive complaints, the Joint Commission would evaluate whether an on-site survey is needed. An unsatisfactory survey can affect accreditation status.
Dr. Ana Pujols McKee, executive vice president and chief medical officer of the Joint Commission says that "We encourage our accredited organizations to use the alert to help their healthcare workers recognize violence from patients and visitors, become prepared to handle it, and more effectively address the aftermath."
According to the accreditor's data, there have been 68 incidents of homicide, rape or assault of hospital staff members in the past eight years. OSHA (The Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has found that many violent incidents are not reported by nurses, but approximately 75% of nearly 25,000 workplace assaults reported every year occurred in healthcare and social service settings.
According to a spokeswoman, there are differences in the rates of incidents noted by the Joint Commission and OSHA differ as it's not mandatory to report workplace violence to the commission.
Healthcare employees are four times more likely to be victimized than workers in other industries, according to OSHA. Healthcare workers also are especially empathetic, and they may believe patients are not be responsible for their actions if they suffer from illness or are taking medication that affects their mental state. This can also affect morale among workers.
The Joint Commission could not say whether the incidents of violence they were made aware of led to a loss of accreditation.
Hospitals are working to address the matter both individually and as a group, according to the American Hospital Association's top lawyer.
Noting that the AHA's Hospitals Against Violence initiative is a tool available to hospitals, Hatton said "the Joint Commission's newest Sentinel Event Alert may provide an additional resource for hospitals on addressing workplace violence, namely physical and verbal violence, and its impact on employee morale, retention and well-being."
Until now, some professional associations believe they have been largely unprotected.
Cheryl Peterson, vice president of nursing programs at the American Nurses Association, said that they should remove barriers to reporting incidents.
Dr. Paul Kivela, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians, thinks it'll take stiffer penalties at both the federal and state level to really curb the problem.
Currently, legal penalties vary around the country. For instance, in West Virginia a person can face a felony charge and up to three years in jail depending on the severity of the attack against a healthcare worker. In California, an assault or battery against a provider is viewed as a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year of jail time for the most severe cases.
Kivela argues that medical providers should be treated similarly to other front line professionals who regularly deal with combative individuals, such as the police, where assaulting an officer is a felony and can incur up to three years in jail.
Source: Modern Healthcare
This webinar will address the essential concepts of emergency preparedness in long-term care facilities (LTC), including the disaster management continuum of planning, mitigation, response and recovery.
Speaker Stan Szpytek will focus on the necessity of "All Hazards" planning and utilization of a trusted emergency management model known as the Incident Command System (ICS) as it pertains to healthcare facilities. This program will also include a brief overview of new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Requirements of Participation regarding emergency preparedness in skilled nursing facilities.
Billy Kipkorir Chemirmir, arrested on capital murder charges March 20 in Dallas, also is suspected in the October attack on a resident at Parkview in Frisco, a Watermark Retirement Community offering independent living, assisted living and memory care in Frisco, TX.
Chemirmir, who has a criminal record, posed as a maintenance worker to try to gain entry to the resident's apartment, Plano Police Chief Gregory W. Rushin alleged at a Friday press conference. After forcing his way into the apartment, Chemirmir knocked the woman off her walker and to the floor, put a pillow over her face until she passed out and then took her jewelry, Rushin alleged.
The resident survived. Chemirmir is accused of attempted capital murder in the case.
"In late 2017, we reported this individual to the authorities for an intrusion into our community. We are thankful he has been apprehended," the company said in a statement to WFAA. "We are cooperating fully with the authorities to assist them in any way possible. We are deeply saddened by the actions of this individual, and our hearts go out to the affected communities, their residents and family members."
Chemirmir is a former healthcare worker "and has a history of impersonating maintenance personnel at a retirement community in Dallas," Rushin said, although he could not provide details on his work history because the investigation is in the early stages. Tuesday, Plano police said Chemirmir may have used the name Benjamin Koitaba while working in healthcare.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed bills into law Monday requiring assisted living communities and nursing homes in the state to have emergency generators. Legislators in Oklahoma are considering similar requirements for assisted living.
Scott, a Republican, asked for the Florida legislation following the September deaths of eight residents of a Hollywood, FL, rehabilitation facility after a power outage related to Hurricane Irma knocked out the facility's air conditioning. Six additional residents of the facility later died, and a medical examiner ruled that 12 of the deaths were homicides caused by environmental heat exposure.
“As we near the 2018 hurricane season, families can now know the facilities responsible for caring for their loved ones will have the resources needed to be fully prepared ahead of any potential storms,” he said Monday in a statement.
The new assisted living law requires each community to have a backup power source that can maintain an air conditioning system during a power outage. Air temperature in the community must be maintained at or below 81 degrees Fahrenheit. The backup power source can be portable but must provide at least 20 square feet of cool space per resident, calculated based on 80% of the community's licensed number of beds. Communities with fewer than 17 beds also must have 48 hours worth of fuel on hand, and larger ones must have 72 hours worth of fuel.
A bill requiring assisted living communities in Florida to purchase backup generators and have fuel on site is on its way to Gov. Rick Scott's desk for signing after the Florida legislature approved it last week.
The proposed rule ratified by SB 7028 is expected to cost operators more than $243 million over the next five years, calculated the state Department of Elder Affairs, which issued the rule at Scott's direction. The department's earlier estimate of $280 million was modified. Ratification of the rule was required because the five-year cost of the measure was more than $1 million.
The rule requires each assisted living community to have a backup power source that can maintain an air conditioning system during a power outage. The source can be portable but must provide at least 30 square feet of cool space per resident. Communities with fewer than 17 beds also must have 48 hours worth of fuel on hand, and larger ones must have 72 hours worth of fuel.
Working with several clients in California, I have the opportunity to provide consultative services, including mock surveys and training, to several senior living and long-term care providers around the state. Although it's no secret that the past year has been particularly challenging for all types of senior living and healthcare providers in California and beyond, the response to disasters (yes, disasters — plural) by one particular skilled nursing facility in Shadow Hills represents the pinnacle of preparedness, dedication and resiliency.
For any homeowner or business operator nestled in the hills in Los Angeles County near Burbank, CA, the threat of wildfire is ever present. In September, a raging wildfire in La Tuna Canyon to the east of Shadow Hills Convalescent Hospital was this facility's first real brush with disaster in 38 years. As the fire grew in intensity and acreage at an alarming rate, SHCH was put on high alert and prepared to evacuate.
The exterior sprinkler system manually was turned on to drench the vegetation behind the building, and fire crews initiated a massive attack to stop the inferno from knocking on the facilities back door. An exterior sprinkler system had been installed electively by the facility's owner to provide an extra layer of protection to the property during vegetation and wildfires.
As the fire raged, residents were evacuated from the upper level of the building, which actually is positioned on the side of a hill to the lower level near the street. Facility staff worked tirelessly in concert with fire department and EMS resources as they prepared to initiate total evacuation. Firefighting efforts were successful, and the blaze was stopped within a hundred yards of so from back of the property.
A woman who had been fired from a Utah assisted living community returned six weeks later with a handgun and a stun gun and tried to steal locked-up medication before leaving with two employees' backpacks, according to the Utah County Sheriff's Office.
Becky Golly, 44, has been charged with aggravated robbery, use or threatened use of a weapon; financial transaction with intent to defraud; forgery; and possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person for the Feb. 7 incident. All of the charges are felonies, and additional charges may be filed later, the sheriff's office said in a press release. Golly remained in jail as of Feb. 15, according to Utah County Sheriff's Office Corrections Bureau records.
Authorities said that an employee of Elk Ridge Assisted Living, Elk Ridge, UT, opened a door for Golly after receiving a call that someone was trying to get into the building; the employee thought a resident must have walked outside.
Golly reportedly was wearing all black, had her face covered with a cloth or bandana and pointed a gun at the woman's face. A second employee locked herself in another room and called 911.
Meanwhile, according to the sheriff's office, Golly ordered the first employee to go to an office where medications are stored. Golly ordered the employee to spray the security camera with shaving cream that she had brought, then told the employee to unlock a medication storage box, authorities said. When the employee was unable to open the box, Golly allegedly fled with the two employees' backpacks.
A 94-year-old California resident is suing the senior living community where she was living when a wildfire broke out in October, claiming that she and at least 80 other residents were abandoned by staff members instead of being evacuated.
The woman, Barbara Jeanne Pierce, lived at Oakmont Senior Living's Varenna at Fountaingrove retirement community in Santa Rosa, CA, a sister property to Villa Capri, a neighboring assisted living and memory care community that also is facing a lawsuitover the way staff allegedly handled evacuations during the fire. Villa Capri was destroyed by the wildfire, but Varenna has since reopened.
“Natural disasters are foreseeable, especially in California, and we filed these suits as a wake-up call to all long-term care facilities that they must be prepared to keep their residents safe in an emergency,” said attorney Kathryn Stebner, who is representing the plaintiffs in both lawsuits. The latest lawsuit was filed Tuesday.
Oakmont did not respond to McKnight's Senior Living's request for comment by the publication deadline. On its website, however, the company said, “Our heroic Oakmont Senior Living employees kept our residents out of harm's way and successfully evacuated all 435 seniors living at our Santa Rosa properties.” The company also posted thank you notes from residents and family members of residents who were evacuated from Oakmont's communities due to the fires.
On a frigid night last March, Ellen Hinds, who was 85 and had dementia, left her apartment building in her retirement community north of Philadelphia wearing only light pajamas. There was snow on the ground, and her feet were bare. She carried a potted plant but no key. It was 2:15 a.m. Five hours later, she was found near a different door lying facedown in the snow. She was turning blue. Her feet showed signs of frostbite. There were icicles on her hands and feet, according to a report from first responders.
She died a week later having never regained consciousness. Family members said she appeared to be in “great agony.” Her death certificate lists “complications of hypothermia” as the cause of death.
Her son, Blake Rowe, a drug company scientist, has filed suit against Shannondell at Valley Forge in Audubon and its security company, Universal Protection Service LLC, claiming that they should have done more to protect his mother. She had been allowed to stay in an independent-living apartment after Shannondell knew she had a tendency to become confused and wander aimlessly, the suit says.
“I put my trust in them. They said they would do an assessment they never did,” Rowe said. As for the security company, he said, “If they were doing their rounds, someone would not be at a door for five hours freezing to death.”
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Pioneer Health Care Center of Rocky Ford for failing to protect employees from violence in the workplace. The nursing home faces proposed penalties of $9,054.
OSHA opened an investigation at Pioneer Health Care Center in response to two complaints related to workplace violence received in August 2017. OSHA subsequently identified five documented incidents of workplace violence in 2017 that resulted in employee injuries, along with several unreported incidents. OSHA issued one serious citation for failing to implement adequate measures to protect employees from workplace violence hazards
“Employers are responsible for providing employees a safe and healthy workplace,” said OSHA’s Englewood Area Director David Nelson. “Pioneer Health Care Center must understand that their employees’ safety is important.”
Pioneer Health Care Center provides residential services that mostly consist of long-term care and mental health services.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. Read the citations.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor
Approximately 8000 cases of legionellosis (Legionnaires' disease, Pontiac fever, and any illness caused by exposure to Legionella bacteria) are reported in United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC data also indicate the rate of reported cases of legionellosis in the U.S. increased 286% between 2000 and 2014. Of the overall reported cases of legionellosis, 10% result in death.
However, among those that occur in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities, the mortality rate jumps to 25%.
While the presence of Legionella in any water system presents a danger to occupants, the threat of infection is particularly dangerous in healthcare facilities where residents are more vulnerable to exposure since many are senior citizens and/or immunocompromised due to illness. The fact that these facilities often contain complex water systems, where Legionella bacteria are likely to thrive, makes them particularly high-risk locations.
Associations representing assisted living operators in Florida have agreed to drop their legal challenges to a rule requiring them to install generators for resident safety during power outages. Instead, they will support a revised proposed rule issued Friday by the state Department of Elder Affairs, Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday.
Challenges against the state Agency for Health Care Administration also are being dropped in relation to a previously proposed rule that would have applied to nursing homes.
Tuesday's announcement marks the end of a contentious battle between provider organizations and the state government. That fight began in September after the governor issued an emergency generator rule following the deaths of eight residents of a Hollywood, FL, rehabilitation facility after a power outage related to Hurricane Irma knocked out the facility's air conditioning. Six additional residents of the facility later died, and a medical examiner ruled that 12 of the deaths were homicides caused by environmental heat exposure. Provider organizations argued that the emergency rule and subsequent efforts did not factor in enough time for compliance.
The newly proposed rules must be ratified by the state legislature to go into effect, but Scott and the associations said they will accomplish their shared goal of keeping residents safe in emergencies.
A November lawsuit against a California senior living community that was destroyed in an Oct. 9 wildfire was amended Thursday to include four additional former residents and claims that the subsequent deaths of two of the original four plaintiffs were hastened because the community failed to safely evacuate residents.
The lawsuit against Oakmont Senior Living and Oakmont Management Group now includes a total of 13 plaintiffs — Oakmont of Villa Capri residents or their family members, all of whom allege that they or their family members were able to evacuate the Santa Rosa, CA, community only because of the daughters of two of the plaintiffs.
Former residents Elizabeth Budow, 92, and Virginia Gunn, 82, died Dec. 11 and 18, respectively, the amended lawsuit said.
Budow was blind, had dementia and had impaired hearing, according to the complaint. “As a result of Defendants' recklessness and negligent conduct during the fire, Elizabeth Budow was taken to the hospital with a broken hip, broken tooth, open wound on her heel, and abrasions and contusions all over her body,” the lawsuit said, adding that Budow later died “as a result of the trauma and injuries she experienced.”
A new bill seeks to bolster emergency preparedness at the nation's nursing homes, even as the Trump administration backs away from some non-compliance penalties.
Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and Tim Walberg (R-MI) are lead sponsors of a bill that would require nursing homes to have alternative sources of energy capable of heating, cooling and venting a building for at least four days in case of an emergency; prioritize nursing homes in the same manner as hospitals during public health emergencies; and authorize civil penalties up to $100,000 for non-compliance resulting in a resident's death.
Wasserman Schultz first proposed new rules in October, a month after 14 residents died from heat-related illness in a Hollywood, FL, nursing home days after Hurricane Irma knocked out air conditioning there.
At the time, she decried lax enforcement and said too many nursing homes accepted the cost of potential fines instead of investing in alternative power supplies.
The new bill was introduced Dec. 20, just days before a New York Times report noted the Trump administration had scaled back its use of fines against nursing homes with regard to resident harm.
“Now is not the time for Trump to roll back fines that noncompliant nursing homes face when they put our seniors in harm's way,” Wasserman Schultz tweeted, after the story hit.
A covered patio seems to be the starting point of the Nov. 16 five-alarm fire at Barclay Friends continuing care retirement community in which four residents died, according to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms investigators. Agents remain unsure, however, of what caused the West Chester, PA, fire or how it spread, according to local media reports.
ATF spokeswoman Charlene Hennessy said the fire at the Kendal Corp. CCRC appears to be accidental but that the investigation is ongoing, CBS Philly reported on Friday. Agents also are conducting tests to see whether the sprinkler system was operating properly, Hennessy said.
The Chester County Coroner's Office previously identified the four deceased residents as Mildred Gadde, 93; Theresa Malloy, 85; and Delores Parker, 89, and her husband, Thomas Parker, 92. Twenty-seven additional residents were injured in the fire, according to the community.
In a message posted Thursday on its website, Barclay Friends said it continues to work with investigators to determine the cause of the fire and to work with residents, family and staff members to meet their needs. The community said it plans to hold meetings with families this week.
The CCRC said it plans to demolish the building where the fire broke out and that it hopes to reopen its skilled nursing building as soon as possible, although dates have not been set.
In the meantime, Barclay Friends staff members and volunteers are preparing “Secret Santa” packages for residents, according to the post. First Presbyterian Church of West Chester is helping to coordinate the effort; people can sign up to volunteer or donate here, if interested.
Source: McKnight's Senior Living
Recent fires in long-term care and senior housing buildings in Pennsylvania, Idaho and California stress the importance of fire safety and emergency preparedness in facilities that provide services to the elderly, sick and frail. While healthcare providers have spent a great deal of time and resources dedicated to the development of an “All Hazards” Emergency Management approach to preparedness within their operations, providers cannot forget to focus on the threat of fire as it is one of the most common perils within their community.
During the holiday season, it is critically important for individuals and organizations to maintain a clear focus on safety-related matters and to use common sense and good judgment when decorating their facilities in the spirit of the season. Here are some basic tips to remember to help ensure fire and life safety within a long-term care facility or senior living community:
It is imperative that all exits within a building are kept clear of any type of obstruction. Items like holiday trees, decorations or furniture that is rearranged to accommodate a holiday display should never compromise an exit or a pathway of egress. Do not let “seasonal design” impede exit access requirements. Such a condition represents a code violation and potential deficiency.
Two recent news stories may have you re-examining your emergency preparedness plans, especially as they pertain to fires.
Four residents died and more than 160 residents and staff members were evacuated, including more than two dozen residents who were taken to hospitals, during a five-alarm fire Nov. 16 at the Barclay Friends continuing care retirement community in West Chester, PA. Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the blaze, which destroyed part of the community, forcing parent company Kendal Corp. to relocate residents.
In a Nov. 18 fire at Safe Haven Care Center, a former nursing home in Pocatello, ID, that was operating as an assisted living community and also included a psychiatric hospital, no deaths or injuries were reported. The building and all of its contents are gone, however.
The Idaho fire is believed to have started in the building's attic, where state law did not require a sprinkler system because it was unoccupied. Idaho operates under the International Fire Code and National Fire Protection Association codes, the state fire marshal told the Idaho State Journal. He added that he will be recommending a review of those codes to ensure that they protect people as much as possible.
As most employers probably know by now, OSHA’s revised recordkeeping rule requires certain employers to electronically file injury and illness data with OSHA. Originally the reporting deadline was July 1, 2017. OSHA has again extended the deadline, this time to December 15, 2017.
During the previous extension period, it appeared that OSHA might be reconsidering the rule, with a possibility of modifications or a complete revocation of the rule by December 1, 2017. However with the recent extension to December 15, it appears that the rule will remain unchanged for the time being and that covered employers must report by the new deadline.
As a reminder, establishments with 250 or more employees must submit information electronically from their 2016 Form 300A by December 15, 2017. These same employers will be required to submit information from all 2017 forms (300A, 300, and 301) beginning in 2018.
Establishments with 20-249 employees operating in what OSHA deems to be “high-risk industries” (including department stores, nursing homes, construction) must submit information from their 2016 Form 300A by the December 15, 2017 deadline. These same employers will continue to only submit information from their 300A forms in later years.
Although OSHA’s electronic reporting webpage experienced malfunctions earlier this year, the webpage now appears to be working.
For more information on this or any related topic please contact the author, your Seyfarth attorney, or any member of the Workplace Safety and Health (OSHA/MSHA) Team.
Source: Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Officials have recovered the remains of two people from what is left of a Pennsylvania senior living community following last week's fire.
The fire broke out Thursday night at Barclay Friends Senior Living Community in West Chester, west of Philadelphia. More than two dozen people were injured and 133 residents displaced.
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan said Monday four residents were still unaccounted for, including a husband and wife.
Investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives located the remains Tuesday. They were transported from the scene by the Chester County coroner. The search will continue Wednesday for the two remaining missing residents.
None of the missing residents have been identified.
The origin and cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Source: AP News Archive
ABC World News TonightVideo (11/17, story 4, 1:25, Muir, 7.89M) reported that on Friday, a senior living facility near Philadelphia caught fire, which correspondent Eva Pilgrim said led to the "massive rescue" of "about 160 residents and employees." She added that authorities engaged "in a desperate search for those unaccounted for in the massive inferno that ripped through" the facility, and more than "400 emergency workers scrambl[ed] through the night to save the elderly residents," many of whom "couldn’t escape on their own." Pilgrim said the blaze was a "five-alarm fire," and that 27 residents were transported to area hospitals.
The CBS Evening NewsVideo (11/17, story 8, 0:20, Mason, 6.25M) reported that at least 17 residents have been hospitalized, adding that some residents "are still not accounted for." The Evening News added, "Investigators are waiting for the smoldering ruins to cool before they can search for the cause."
NBC Nightly NewsVideo (11/17, lead story, 2:00, Holt, 7.26M) reported that some of the hospitalized residents were injured "seriously" and that "at least 100 are displaced." Correspondent Kristen Dahlgren said, "Police won’t confirm how many are unaccounted for. But with more than 150 residents rescued, many are calling it a miracle."
USA Today (11/18, Michaels, 8.62M) reported it could take "several days before investigators can pick through the ruins." Charlene Hennessy, a spokeswoman for Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) said Friday, "No one at this point came forward and said we can’t account for a loved one." Another official "said there were no confirmed deaths."
NPR (11/17, Neuman, Wamsley, 2.4M) reported the fire took place at the Barclay Friends Senior Living Community in West Chester, Pennsylvania, adding that it "quickly spread to multiple buildings, according to The Associated Press."
The International Association for Healthcare Security & Safety (IAHSS) announces the release of a new industry guideline titled "Collaborating with Law Enforcement." This is a timely guideline as it was published just prior to a widely covered news event regarding a University of Utah Hospital nurse who was arrested for refusing to draw blood from an unconscious patient. The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) reached out to IAHSS, and both organizations are supportive of working together to ensure a situation like this does not happen again.
Healthcare Facilities are responsible for providing a safe and therapeutic environment while respecting the rights and privacy of those entrusted to their care. IAHSS guidelines are intended to assist healthcare administrators in fulfilling their obligation to provide a safe, secure and welcoming environment, while carrying out the mission of their organizations.
The IAHSS Council on Guidelines is comprised of volunteer IAHSS members who are seasoned healthcare security professionals and leaders. Each year the Council on Guidelines develops new industry guidelines and reviews existing guidelines on a three-year cycle. All IAHSS guidelines are available electronically to IAHSS members via the IAHSS website. Hardcopies of the guidelines booklet are published annually and available for sale in the IAHSS online store. The new guideline, "Collaborating with Law Enforcement," can be accessed by the public for a limited time at www.iahss.org/guidelines.
Those in charge of the Hollywood nursing home where several residents died after Hurricane Irma struck have been served with plenty of lawsuits over the years.
"I've been suing them for 20 years," said Bill Dean, an Aventura nursing home plaintiffs lawyer. "There hasn't been improvement. There's been constant decline."
The tragedy at Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills, which has resulted in 10 residents' deaths so far, led the state Agency for Health Care Administration to suspend its license Wednesday.
The agency found the residents who died after the facility's air conditioning went out had body temperatures of up to 109.9 degrees by the time they made it to the hospital across the street. Staff made late entries on patients' charts, and in one case reported a resident's temperature was taken at the facility when he had already been evacuated, according to the agency.
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