A carbon monoxide alarm at a rehabilitation wellness facility in Cheyenne led to a mass evacuation of patients. Responding to the Granite Rehabilitation and Wellness Center on Boxelder Drive around 6:30 Saturday morning, Cheyenne Fire Rescue found high levels of carbon monoxide inside the building.
Further investigation revealed multiple natural gas leaks occurring. Black Hills and maintenance personnel worked throughout the day to try to remedy the building systems to a workable state without success.
73 patients were successfully evacuated in less than five hours on Saturday. Through a joint effort, a patient triage/tracking and safety system was set in place for residents as soon as the evacuation began. Ambulances, wheelchair vans, and buses were used to safely transport patients to their destinations.
Most patients were able to stay locally in Cheyenne, while others were transferred to healthcare facilities in Casper.
27 patients remain in the building, on the first floor, where electric heat is being maintained inside the resident’s room. The fire notification and suppression system are fully operational in that area as well.
Granite staff will continue to care for these patients on a 24/7 watch. The natural gas remains shut off to the building with no further sources of carbon monoxide present.
Currently, there isn’t a known timeframe for when the building will be fully operational on the second and third floors. Other agencies that assisted throughout the incident included: the City of Cheyenne’s Building and Compliance Department, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, Laramie County Fire District 1, Laramie County Fire Authority, and Black Hills Energy.