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1 Dead in Mich. Nursing Home Blast

November 11, 1999

FLINT, Mich. (AP) _ A basement boiler exploded and knocked down the walls and ceiling of a nursing home Wednesday night, starting a fire and killing one person, fire officials said. Seven people were missing.

About two dozen people were taken to hospitals after the 9 p.m. explosion, Fire Chief Theron Wiggins said.

Firefighters and neighbors helped pull people out of the one-story building, he said, and the fire was extinguished. About 110 people, including 94 residents, were inside when the boiler exploded in the basement of the Clara Barton Convalescence Center, he said.

The seven missing are nursing home workers and were believed to be in the building’s basement, Wiggins said.

Hurley Medical Center spokeswoman Stephanie Motshenbacher said one person died on arrival there. She said 16 people were brought to the hospital. One was sent to the burn unit and another to a neurotrauma ward and two others were in critical condition.

Glen Fosdick, Hurley president and chief executive, said the patients included residents and worker and two firefighters and an ambulance worker who were being treated for smoke inhalation.

Four people went to another hospital, but the extent of their injuries wasn’t available.

Nursing home residents who weren’t injured were taken to two churches. Five other nursing homes were taking in Clara Barton patients, said Shea Baker, son of the owner of the Clara Barton home.

``All of a sudden, our house shook,″ said Debra Sims, who lives a block away. ``I thought it was a big clap of thunder at first, then I saw a flash (through the window). It was like a flash of lightning.″

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