Florence Stallo, 90, and her niece were spending time together in her apartment at The Maples of Towson on April 20 when the fire alarm went off. Ms. Stallo said the assisted living community runs fire drills every month or so and she didn’t think much of it, until she opened the door to her apartment and smelled smoke.
Ms. Stallo, a parishioner of St. Francis of Assisi, Baltimore, and her niece made it to the front porch safely and waited until the fire department showed up.
“The firemen came and moved everyone to the front lawn,” said Ms. Stallo. “Everybody got out just fine, and the volunteer firemen couldn’t have been nicer.”
With the help of the staff, nearly 60 senior residents were evacuated during the electrical fire and relocated to an area hotel for eight days. Ms. Stallo said many of the residents were out on the lawn with no shoes or socks on, so the staff gave them blankets and made them comfortable while the firefighters worked to quench the fire.
Ms. Stallo said she wasn’t afraid until the firefighters came and she realized they wouldn’t be going back to their apartments. She said even while at the hotel, The Maples staff came to help take care of them every day.
“The staff was there all the time,” said Ms. Stallo, 90. “They tended to all of us at the hotel, distributing medication and giving us clothes to wear, toiletries and other necessities.”
Peggy Klusener, executive director at The Maples, said keeping the staff informed and trained is important to the success of the assisted living center. Each employee has a manual with a defined plan in case of an emergency, said Ms. Klusener. She said staff members have guidelines for everything because they need to be ready for anything.
“They were efficient, and I was very grateful,” said Ms. Stallo. “They kept us calm.”
She said the staff helps to keep them safe every day by checking in on them throughout the day, especially in the morning and before bed. She said the staff is very attentive to everyone’s needs.
Ms. Stallo and a few other people say the rosary each Tuesday afternoon and she said she feels they “got through the fire by praying the rosary.”
“It’s the dedication of the staff to the job they are doing that keeps the residents safe,” said Ms. Klusener.