Kiski Township personal care home closed, residents relocated
Alleged deficiencies found Thursday in a Kiski Township personal care home inspection caused state officials to attempt to remove all 19 residents Thursday night in an “emergency relocation.”
Wofford's Cherry Lane Manor, at 627 Sawyer Lane, was inspected by state Department of Public Welfare and Kiski Township zoning and fire officials.
‘We don't like doing this because it's a vulnerable population,” Welfare Department spokeswoman Donna Morgan said of the relocations.
Morgan said the facility has a provisional license through May 6, the second one that the personal care home has been operating under. Provisional licenses are given to facilities that have shown problems that the Welfare Department expects to have fixed to avoid sanctions.
But Thursday's inspection revealed “life-threatening fire safety issues, electrical hazards and substandard plumbing,” Morgan said in a phone call from Harrisburg.
“Inspectors said this (place) does not look safe,” she said.
Morgan said five Welfare Department employees were at the personal care home to interview each resident in preparation of moving them to other facilities.
“They will evaluate each client and their special needs” and find them spaces in other personal care or nursing homes, if that need is shown during the evaluation.
Morgan said the Welfare Department personnel were working with the Armstrong County Area Agency on Aging and planned on calling for assistance from police, fire and emergency crews.
“It's an emergency, 19 people need a home tonight,” said Sherry Stockdale from the Back to Basics personal care home in Dayton, Armstrong County.
“You see if you can get someone in,” she said.
Stockdale said that she was called Thursday to come assess residents at Wofford's Cherry Lane Manor to see if any of them could be transferred to her personal care home in Dayton.
Because her available vacancy involved a potential resident using a stairway, she said she wasn't able to take any of Cherry Lane Manor's residents.
According to Stockdale, there were between six to eight Welfare Department representatives in the personal care home Thursday calling personal care homes throughout the region trying to find the residents homes.
Local ambulance crews were standing by to help, said Kiski Township fire Chief and township Supervisor Rich Frame.
He said the facility employs at least a half-dozen people.
Supervisors Chairman Jack Wilmot said he met with a Welfare Department official Thursday afternoon.
“They got (electrical) cords running everywhere up there,” Wilmot said. “It's a firetrap waiting to happen. It's not safe for the public.”
In addition to electrical problems, Wilmot said, “there was raw sewage in the basement.”
Frame said all of the residents were evacuated about a week ago for a short time for what he said was “a suspicious smell.” They were placed in a specialized bus while the building was checked out and returned to the home.
“Our goal is to get them into a personal care home by tonight,” DPW's Morgan said at 5 p.m.
The DPW wants to relocate all of the residents “within the region,” Morgan said.Morgan said that in November 2011 Cherry Lane Manor was first given a list of things to correct. DPW alleges it told Manor managers about problems twice in 2012.
“They were on their second provisional license,” Morgan said, adding that the paperwork described “multiple and repeat violations.”
Specific Welfare Department or township zoning violations weren't available Thursday.
“This is very difficult,” said Karen Wofford, listed as one of the owners on Department of Public Welfare documents. “This is a shock to all of us.”
Wofford said that she didn't know the details of deficiencies cited by the Welfare Department.
Wofford said that she and her husband, Randy, hired an independent inspector last summer to look at the home to ready it for sale as they prepare for retirement. “Everything was fine,” she said.
Wofford, 59, of the Kittanning area, said that she and her husband sold the Cherry Lane Manor building and business in January on a rent-to-own basis.
She declined to name the new owner but did say that she is a young, local woman who had been an employee there. That person could not immediately be identified.
Wofford said that her husband continues to work at the home as administrator. According to public records, Randy Wofford was listed as “Owner/administrator” in a violation report letter that the Welfare Department sent to the Woffords dated Jan. 31.
Efforts to reach her husband were unsuccessful Thursday.
A man at the personal care home Thursday evening said he was a former owner but refused to give his name.
Karen Wofford said some residents have lived there for 15 to 20 years.
According to Wofford, Cherry Lane Manor has been operating for 31 years, and without any major incidents.
Chuck Biedka and Mary Ann Thomas are staff writers for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kiski River search finds kayak but no kayaker
- Tarentum teen to be tried as an adult in New Year’s shooting
- Police: Man riding bike in New Kensington strikes truck, dies
- New Kensington shooting victim’s condition improves
- 24 teachers put on New Kensington-Arnold School District furlough list
- Apollo-Ridge students connect world, science
- ‘Defective component’ shuts down part of new ATI Harrison mill
- Break-ins reported in Oakmont
- Man uninjured after leap from Hulton Bridge
- Pyrotechnics to be used in TV filming in New Kensington
- Springdale suspect’s fate could depend on mental health assessment