RiverMead’s assisted living wing evacuated for smoke investigation Thursday

  • Peterborough Police Officer Justin Hyland assists a resident of RiverMead Lifecare Community during an evacuation of the Assisted Living wing on Thursday night. Courtesy photos

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/24/2019 1:27:46 PM
Modified: 5/24/2019 1:27:33 PM

A wing of the assisted living facility at RiverMead Lifecare Community was evacuated on Thursday after a malfunctioning air circulation unit triggered a fire alarm.

The fire department responded to RiverMead at 11:05 p.m. for an automatic fire alarm, Fire Chief Ed Walker said Friday. When fire crews arrived, residents reported an odor of smoke in the assisted living wing.

At that point, crews upgraded to a second alarm, Walker said.

“There was pretty heavy smoke conditions in the assisted living section of the facility. The police and staff evacuated the residents of that wing to the lobby of the building,” Walker said.

RiverMead is compartmentalized, Walker said, so the entire facility does not need to be evacuated in the case of a fire.

The fire department investigated the smoke with assistance from RiverMead’s maintenance personnel and discovered the cause was a motor in the air handler, which was malfunctioning and burning. The air handler circulates the heating or cooling in the building. 

“We were able to get it shut down, evacuate the smoke and get residents back to their rooms,” Walker said. 

Walker said there was no damage to the building, only the air handling unit, which shouldn’t impact the building as a whole.

Residents were able to return to their rooms by 12:15 a.m.

Fire crews from Jaffrey, Antrim, Temple, Milford, Hancock, New Ipswich and Keene assisted on the scene, as did the Jaffrey-Rindge Memorial Ambulance and the Peterborough Police Department. 


Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT. 


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