Fire at Morenci CQC home 12.09

Written by David Green.

What was supposed to be a routine training session for Morenci Fire Department members soon turned into the real thing.

Quick action by department members Monday night prevented what could have become a tragedy at the CQC adult foster care home on Baker Street.

The incident resulted in the arrest of one CQC resident.

Several firefighters were training in back of the station when one of them spotted a fire in a bedroom at CQC, located across the street from the fire hall.

“All they could see was flames,” said fire chief Chad Schisler. “They immediately ran over and started the evacuation process.”

There were 12 residents in the home, along with one visitor and two employees. The residents appeared to be ambulatory, Schisler said, but many could only move very slowly and needed walkers to assist their movement.

The residents were moved to the fire hall and checked by personnel from area EMS stations. One was transported to Bixby Medical Center for observation and two were released to family members. Eight were transported by a Morenci Area Schools bus to the Stephenson Home in Adrian.

One resident of the home—a 43-year-old female—was arrested at the scene and lodged for a mental health observation.

Physical evidence and statements from the woman pointed to her role in intentionally starting the fire, said Morenci Chief of Police Larry Weeks.

Two Morenci firefighters were transported by ambulance after suffering smoke inhalation.

Schisler was proud of his squad’s quick response, saying, “Their action saved a lot of lives.”

The fire was confined to one room and the cause is being investigated.

Morenci’s EMS squad transported the resident and firefighters almost immediately, Schisler said, and EMTs from Fayette and Hudson assisted in screening the remaining residents before they were released to family or transported to Adrian.

Lyons also provided manpower and Hudson sent its RIT team.

The fire was discovered at 7:25 p.m. and firefighters remained on the scene for two hours.

Chief Weeks said he is working with the state fire marshal’s office and the state agency that licenses AFC homes to complete the investigation and inspection get the CQC home in operation again as soon as possible.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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