Pleasantville, NJ Nursing Home Fire, Jan 1973



Pleasantville, N.J. (AP) -- At. least 10 persons died early Monday when a swiftly moving fire destroyed a nursing home for elderly people, fire officials reported.
Six other persons were known to have survived the fire at Street's Rest Home, a fire department spokesman said.
The spokesman also said he believed that all the victims were elderly persons.
By the time firemen arrived at the two-story wooden frame structure, flames were shooting out of first-story windows, the spokesman added.
He said that precious time was lost because firemen had to string hoses together to reach the nearest hydrant, which is three-quarters of a mile away.
The fire was finally extinguished about three hours later.
The identities of the victims were not immediately known.
Pleasantville is located just north of Atlantic City.
"There was no life when we got here," said Fire Chief Walt S. Schlundt. "I walked around the building but heard no hollering or screaming."
"The smoke had apparently gotten to them by then," Schlundt said.
Schlundt said initial indications were that the fire had begun in a linen closet.
The fire alarm was turned in by Absecon Police Sgt. James Meng, who spotted the blaze while patrolling a street that serves as the Pleasantville-
Absecon border. The nursing home's fire alarm, which had been inspected recently as required by state law, did not work, Schlundt said.
The fire chief estimated that the building was "at least 50 years old."

Waterloo Daily Courier Iowa 1973-01-29



Pleasantville, N.J. (AP) -- State Police have charged a young Baltimore man with arson in connection with a fire at a rest home that took the lives of 10 elderly residents.
HARRY KEMP, 22, was arrested late Monday and is under guard at Somers Point Hospital for treatment of burns he suffered in the fire. He was to be arraigned today.
KEMP was one of six residents of Street's Rest Home who escaped the fire in the two-story, wood-
frame building, along with two employes.
Four of the victims of the fire on Monday were women, one 106 years old. The other victims were in their 70s and 80s.
Deputy Fire Chief Walt S. Schlundt said an alarm system connected to the fire department failed to go off, but occupants of the home who fled safely said an internal alarm did sound.
The two employes who escaped, MRS. MINOR PIERCE and GARY WILSON, said that after the fire was discovered they tried to awaken all residents. They led four of six first-floor residents to safety.
The eight other victims occupied separate second-
floor rooms in the home, located in a sparsely populated section of this community just west of Atlantic City.

The Bridgeport Post Connecticut 1973-01-30