SPRING VALLEY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The investigation into the cause of a deadly fire that destroyed an adult living facility in Rockland County could take more than a month, fire officials announced Thursday.
Meanwhile, the brother of one of the displaced residents is calling for more help. He spoke exclusively with CBS2’s Jenna Deangelis.READ MORE: Investigators: Alarm System At Evergreen Court Home For Adults In Rockland County Was On Test Mode When Deadly Fire Broke Out
“He’s still a little traumatized by the whole incident and I think all the residents were, to be honest with you,” Karl Fader said.
Fader’s brother, Joseph, who is disabled, was inside the Evergreen Court Home for Adults last week when it went up in flames.
“He took a shower, smelled smoke, went downstairs. A resident, I guess, she said, ‘Oh, it’s just the kitchen, cleaning the kitchen.’ He sat down in the activity room. All of a sudden the ceiling came down on him … explosion,” Fader said.
The 70-year-old was among the 112 residents who made it out, many with the help of first responders like 35-year-old volunteer firefighter Jared Lloyd, who lost his life. A resident also died at the hospital.
“He said he didn’t think he was gonna make it out the door. The flames were unbelievable,” Fader said.
Fader said his brother spent three days in the hospital and then was relocated to a different Spring Valley assisted living facility.
“He has lost everything and they’re not willing to help at all. I haven’t heard back from them,” Fader said.
He was referring to the owners of Evergreen Court, who declined an interview. In a statement, the facility said all residents were relocated and it has purchased clothing and personal items for them, adding, “Evergreen staff is working around the clock to make sure residents have everything they need.”READ MORE: Rockland County Mourns Fallen Volunteer Firefighter Jared Lloyd, Who ‘Gave His Life In Service To Others’
“All 111 residents displaced from Evergreen were rehomed as of the day after the fire. Some have been placed at Golden Acres in Rockland, some at The Belvedere in Brooklyn, and some at New Homestead Home For Adults in Queens. Others have opted to be placed elsewhere, either with their families or in other facilities,” the statement read.
“Residents are free to live wherever they choose and all are welcome to permanently stay in the facilities in which they have been rehomed. We are working closely with the New York State Department of Health to ensure all residents are aware of their options, and we will facilitate the transfer of any resident who wishes to do so.
Evergreen staff is working around the clock to make sure residents have everything they need. All Evergreen residents have access to their medications and as of February 26, all had received their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with the exception of a handful who refused.
We have also purchased clothing and personal items for all residents and are extraordinarily grateful for the outpouring of support and donations we have received from the community. Our top priority now is to ensure the long term well being of our residents and to provide as smooth of a transition as possible into their new homes.”
Fader, however, is frustrated. He said he hasn’t been able to get answers for his brother, a nearly 20-year resident.
“Why haven’t they made any of the improvements in that property? Why would they disconnect stuff and the fire alarms?” Fader wondered.
WATCH: Rockland County Officials Share Update On Spring Valley Fire
Investigators said they’re looking into the alarm and sprinkler systems in the multi-agency investigation, which could take weeks, even months. They are refusing to rush to conclusions.
“We have a lot of data to gather from utilities and the owners of the property. We will analyze all of that data,” said Chief William McGovern of the New York Office of Fire Prevention and Control.MORE NEWS: Resident Dead, Firefighter Unaccounted For After Massive Blaze Destroys Evergreen Court Home For Adults In Rockland County
The plan is to determine a cause of the fire that destroyed the building and the hearts of all those who knew and loved firefighter Lloyd, a 15-year veteran of the Spring Valley Fire Department.