Granite nursing home evacuates 100 occupants due to a gas leak

Published: Mar. 21, 2023 at 10:35 AM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Well, thanks to the pandemic, emergency responders knew precisely how to handle a recent emergency and got everyone the safety and health care they needed.

On Saturday, the Veterans’ Affairs Cheyenne Health Care System received a call from the Emergency Management Agency for Cheyenne and Laramie Counties at 2 pm.

They stated they needed help with an emergency evacuation of the Granite Rehabilitation and Nursing home due to carbon monoxide alarms.

By 4 pm, authorities had discovered a gas leak was present. They continued evacuating about 100 occupants within a few hours, including seven veterans and three humane-need patients, and the V.A. hospital took them in.

The occupants said it was an “organized mess,” saying they had about 20 minutes to grab their things to leave.

” Kind of upsetting. I didn’t know where I was going and I had no idea I’d be coming over here,” said Kevin Powers, a retired Veteran.

According to officials, the emergency managers that meet monthly showed up in this emergency and jumped into action.

”People left anything at the door and just rolled up their sleeves and helped and it was great to see,” said Erich Kurtz, Emergency Manager-Cheyenne V.A.

These emergency partners included the Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, the American Medical Response, the Laramie County Firefighters, the County Emergency Management, City Officials and the V.A. of Cheyenne.

The leak was deemed unfixable within a day, so that patients will stay at the facility until further notice.

Patient Wilber Raymond says he misses his friends but says the nursing home has a history of leaving several needed repairs unattended.

”The maintenance people here in Cheyenne isn’t doing a very good job to be honest with you. Sometime people get doing jobs and sometimes they find something and they say we ain’t got time to do it right now, we’ll have to come back and thats when accidents happen,” said Raymond.

Officials say they felt the evacuation went smoothly and are happy everyone is doing well.

”It really was a great feeling as I was taking my drive home Saturday night. To look back at it and think ‘Wow that was easy.’ We got those people out and got them safe and we got them warm and we really took under 6 hours to do it,” said Kurtz.

Emergency officials said the exercises and procedures the collaborative team has experienced over the last three years are why this team performed so well under this emergency.