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Community shocked by Augusta care home conditions after patient deaths

Published: Oct. 19, 2020 at 6:17 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Local investigators sounded the alarm for months about hazardous conditions inside the First Love Personal Care home.

The facility, on Wrightsboro Road across from the Charlie Norwood Veterans Affairs Medical Center, is now condemned and labeled as a crime scene after two people were killed and four others were hospitalized.

Investigators combed the scene for evidence for a second full day at the home.

Now, two elderly patients are recovering with family after being released from the hospital. Neighbors are mourning the two women who didn’t make it out alive.

“It surprised me. It surprised everybody," neighbor Bertha Burns said.

Two elderly women, Georgia Blount and Sylvia Reid, were found dead inside their rooms at the very facility tasked to care for them. Richmond County investigators say when they arrived at 9:15 a.m. on Sunday, the house was unbearably hot on the inside.

Neighbors like Burns are left stunned, trying to make sense of the tragedy next door.

“It hurt me, too, because I sit out there and talk to them a lot. I go to visit with my daughter who sits outside with the ladies while they’re outside enjoying the fresh air. And sit out and talk to them. I don’t miss a day to go and visit them,” Burns said.

The District Attorney’s Office went out here today to recreate the scene and retest the carbon monoxide levels. They say during that retest, the levels were sky-high, but this only added to the puzzle.

Since Sunday, investigators found carbon monoxide levels were within a normal range.

“I just hate that happened to them though especially so close to you, you know,” Burns said.

The DA’s office says they also didn’t find any carbon monoxide detectors when they checked the facility.

“Yeah, that surprised me a lot. A facility like that is supposed to have everything,” Burns said.

But for her, the image of her friends' final moments and their families' pain is hard to comprehend.

Though carbon monoxide was detected in the home, the coroner’s office has not yet confirmed the cause of death for either woman.

We spoke to the daughter of Georgia Blount. She did not want to go on camera yet, but says the entire situation has left her family in shock.

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