Veterans home shuts down

Published 7:10 pm Monday, June 30, 2014

Representatives of the local Department of Human Resources are working to relocate more than a dozen men displaced when the Troy Veterans Center was shut down last week.

Barry Spear, public information manager, Alabama Department of Human Resources, said his office received an order from the state fire marshal, which ordered the Troy Veterans Center on North Three Notch Street, an unlicensed facility, to stop using the building for the purposes in which it was being utilized.

The cease and desist order was issued June 20, although the building was not vacated until Friday.

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“The order also states, in consultation with the social service agency having authority over persons currently residing in the facility, to immediately begin making arrangements for transfer of the residents out of the facility to other appropriate placement,” Spear said. “ DHR is charged with protecting adults from abuse and neglect and that is why we became involved.”

Florence Mitchell, local DHR director, said she could confirm arrangements are being made to relocate the residents of the facility. Spear said he believed the number of residents to be 14 but that number has not been confirmed.

Scott Pilgreen, assistant state fire marshal, said the State Fire Marshal’s office became involved when the City of Troy requested an inspection of the facility due to possible safety code violations.

“The deputy fire marshal conducted an investigation that revealed a number of fire and safety code violations, including exits and building code compliance,” Pilgreen said. “Architectural services were to be retained in order to verify the building was in compliance with fire and building codes.”

Troy Fire Chief Thomas Outlaw said the Troy Fire Department was made aware of fire and safety concerns at the Troy Veterans Home.

“Our guys found doors that could be dead-bolted from both sides and we decided to bring in the State Fire Marshal’s Office,” he said. “In situations dealing with people, the State Fire Marshal will take the lead.”

The Troy Veterans Center is an unlicensed residential facility and has no affiliation with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Steve Holmes, public information officer State Fire Marshal’s Office, said when the cease and desist order shut down the facility was issued and fire watch was ordered.

“The building was under watch 24 hours to ensure the safely of the residents until they could be evacuated in a safe and effective manner. The evacuation was on Friday afternoon,” Holmes said.