EVANS, Ga. (WJBF) -Thursday marks one year that Marshall Square retirement home burst into flames in the middle of the night.
The fire killed one woman and displaced many others.
Since then, several lawsuits have been filed against the retirement community and the fire was ruled an accident that started with an air conditioning unit on the third floor. Many residents still blame the resort even though it was ruled an accident.
We spoke with a lawyer representing one of those victims. He says they’re looking to mediate a settlement with Marshall Square for negligence and violating fire code.
Flames lit up the dark sky as 70, 80, and 90-year-olds struggled to escape from inside Marshall Square, a place they once called their home. Now, one year later former residents are still dealing with the wreckage left behind.
“We’re certainly going in there with the attitude of resolving it, mainly because our clients are old and they need some resolution and they need some finality to this, so they can at least get something out of it enjoy their senior years,” local attorney, Sam Nicholson said.
Sam Nicholson is representing 83-year-old Rhetta Cadle. Cadle was trapped inside her bathroom for 7 hours with wet towels wrapped around her face until firefighters found her the next morning.
“The roof was caving in around her, she could see the outside, she could see the sky while all of this was going on and luckily she survived it,” Nicholson.
Nicholson says Cadle and other victims are ready to reach a conclusion which he hopes will come soon after mediation begins.
“You can just imagine the chaos that was going on there, that drives it, that drives it, but also the negligence involved by the owners of the property,” he explained.
Many of the elderly men and women recall being told to stay inside their rooms even while the fire alarm was going on.
“No fire evacuation plan, no fire safety plan, no compliance with the Georgia state law, and code whereby you’re supposed to have a placard in each one of the rooms telling people where to go in case of a fire,” he continued.
We reached out to John Price the defense attorney, but have not heard back.
Some of the former residents held a small memorial at Washington Commons earlier Thursday to light a candle in memory of the woman who was killed in that fire.