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Massive fire rips through Pennsylvania senior living community, forcing evacuations into cold

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (CBS NEWS) At least 20 people were taken to hospitals as a massive fire ripped through a senior living community in Pennsylvania, reports CBS Philadelphia.  Dozens more, many of whom were unable to walk, were forced into the cold night air. 

The fire was reported around 11 p.m. Thursday at Barclay Friends Senior Living Community, about 35 miles west of Philadelphia.

CBS Philadelphia says authorities believed all the injuries were non-life threatening. 


The fire quickly spread to multiple buildings and flames could be seen shooting from the roofs and windows of the structures, forcing residents to evacuate.

News helicopter video shows dozens of residents lining up along the street, wrapped in blankets. Many were in wheelchairs or in beds on wheels. A spokesperson for the community, Faith Woodward, said it was about 40 degrees outdoors at the time.

Residents who weren't taken to hospitals were brought to various facilities in the area, CBS Philadelphia says.

A spokeswoman for Main Line Health, a not-for-profit health system, said area hospitals also were providing shelter to some additional residents of the senior living community.

Early Friday morning, the local chapter of the American Red Cross tweeted that it had multiple teams on the scene and that it was working with county officials and facility staff to assist displaced residents.

Officials told reporters in an early morning briefing that the fire was brought under control at 1:22 a.m. and firefighters were still extinguishing hot spots as of 6:20 a.m.

Woodward told CBS news 140 people live in the community. All were evacuated and, as far as she knew, accounted for.

It was unclear what sparked the fire. Woodward said residents heard a "big pop" just before it began.

CBS News has learned the facility was found to be in violation of some fire safety standards during its latest inspection, in February, but had since corrected the violations.

According to its website, Barclay Friends offers various levels of care including memory care, skilled nursing and post-acute rehab.Woodward told CBS news 140 people live in the community. All were evacuated and, as far as she knew, accounted for.

It was unclear what sparked the fire. Woodward said residents heard a "big pop" just before it began.

CBS News has learned the facility was found to be in violation of some fire safety standards during its latest inspection, in February, but had since corrected the violations.

According to its website, Barclay Friends offers various levels of care including memory care, skilled nursing and post-acute rehab.

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