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Cause of Florissant nursing home fire believed to be electrical

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FLORISSANT — The cause of a nursing home fire that sent five people to the hospital on Saturday is believed to be electrical, authorities said this week.

The Florissant Valley Fire Protection District received the call for a fire at Bentwood Nursing and Rehab Center at around 12:30 a.m. on Saturday, said Russell Kleffner, battalion chief. The fire started in a resident’s room.

Five residents were taken to the hospital. Four were treated for smoke inhalation and released within 24 hours. One resident was kept longer and treated for smoke inhalation and burns, but was expected to recover.

During an inspection in May, the nursing home was cited for multiple fire safety issues, according to records from the state health department. The issues included having items in the way of exit doors and paint and corrosion on sprinkler heads, among other things. In June the nursing home attested that it had fixed each of the issues.

Kleffner said the emergency systems appeared to have worked as they should on Saturday. The sprinkler system prevented the fire from spreading. The fire was extinguished within minutes of the firefighters arriving on scene.

Reached by phone on Wednesday, a representative from the nursing home declined to comment.

The facility is owned by Creve Coeur-based MGM Healthcare. It is licensed for 116 beds, and as of earlier this month, it reported 88 residents, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

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