CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Seventy-three patients in total were successfully evacuated from Granite Rehabilitation and Wellness in Cheyenne in less than five hours on Saturday following a gas leak that led to dangerously high levels of carbon monoxide. Through a joint effort from several emergency response agencies, a patient triage, tracking and safety system was also 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.
“We were faced with some tough decisions throughout the day,” Cheyenne Fire Rescue deputy chief Andrew Dykshorn said. “CFR has never faced an incident impacting this many patients from a healthcare facility. Through collaboration and professionalism, all agencies truly came together to take care of these patients like they were our own family members.”
Though many were evacuated, 27 patients remain in the building on the first floor, where electric heat is being maintained inside the residents’ rooms. The fire notification and suppression system is 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 time frame 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 Building and Compliance Department, Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, Laramie County Fire District 1, Laramie County Fire Authority, Cheyenne-Laramie County Public Health Department, Cheyenne-Laramie County Emergency Management and Black Hills Energy.