Jackson Township, Monroe County - Dottie Thompson was just about to dig into some baked chicken when she heard the blare of a fire alarm. She said, "I thought to myself, why would they have a fire drill when we are right ready to eat, then I realized it was the real thing."
It was the first ever real fire evacuation at the Hillcrest Retirement Community in Jackson Township.
About fifty people were evacuated at around noon on Monday. Resident Richard Paul brushed it off saying, "We do it every month so it's nothing new."
The residents and staff said the real fire evacuation went as smoothly as their frequent drills. Administrator Jodi Lutkins said, "The evacuation worked perfectly. The residents did a fabulous job. They did what they're supposed to. Staff did fantastic checking the rooms."
Thompson added, "We have fire drills once a month and everybody complains about them but this shows that it is a good thing we have them because everybody knew what to do."
Residents stayed in a fire safe area and watched volunteer firefighters work. Jackson Township Fire Chief Lester Wolcott said, "The guys, we went right in. They got right to the source of the fire, knocked it right down. From the time of arrival to the time it was knocked down, less than five minutes."
Wolcott told Eyewitness News the flames were contained to one room. No one was living there. It is the room next to Dottie's. She said, "I was concerned about my birds and they went and got my birds for me."
Dottie's Parakeets, Mikey and Maggie, were not hurt. They were the only living things in that section of the building. All the people were out for lunch. They went back to their meal once the flames were knocked down.
A State Police Fire Marshal is investigating to find out what started the fire.
Five people live in the section of the building that was impacted. They will move to another section while it is being repaired.