Few return to Aiken Co. retirement home after fire, flooding

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News 12 at 11 o'clock / Friday, June 21, 2013

Village at Horse Creek retirement home in Aiken Co. drenched after sprinklers on after fire.

AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WRDW) -- There's no place like home, says Patricia Breeding, who's lived at the Villages at Horse Creek retirement home for seven years now.

"I'm just glad to be back home," she said. "There's no bed like your own bed, of course."

But today when she came home, she came home to several industrial-sized fans after a small fire around noon Thursday set off the sprinkler system.

"As soon as I kicked my shoes off, the alarm went off!" Breeding said. "All the sprinklers went off. So, until they got everything under control, we were out in the heat."

She said the fire started in a room upstairs when someone fell asleep, left something burning and it sparked a fire setting off the sprinklers.

She said the water came down in buckets.

"The water was coming down so bad," Breeding said. "I don't think we left here until about 8:30 last night from noon yesterday. So, that was a long time of stress."

The sprinklers drenched apartments on one side of the building, allowing a few people to come home today, but many had to stay away to allow for cleaning and drying.

"It's a little inconvenient, but it's for your own safety," she said.

Breeding says she's just grateful the sprinkler system works and that no one was hurt.

"We all survived. No one, thank God, was hurt," she said. "Furniture, stuff like that can be replaced. But a life can't."

Most everyone will be allowed back in on Saturday, but Breeding says two people won't be able to return home until further notice because of the extent of the damage in their rooms.

The American Red Cross paid for lodging for displaced people for two nights.

In terms of damage, because only a few returned today, many haven't been able to check out their rooms and see just how bad it is.

Breeding says she believes the sprinklers stayed on for at least an hour, if not more.

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