SHERWOOD, Ark. — According to the Sherwood Police Department, firefighters were dispatched to a fire at the Retirement Center of Arkansas around 11:05 p.m. on Monday. Fire crews were on the scene less than four minutes after the call was reported.
"Whoo, it went fast," Ed Holman, the owner of the retirement center said. "Our plan first thing this morning was what happens to the residents."
Police say all 51 residents were safely evacuated and transported to the North Pulaski Methodist Church.
That transportation was arranged after someone from a local church brought vans to help transport residents. Holman says it was because of community support like that that allowed for the quick response.
"Yeah, we did have a fire, but it could have been a whole lot worse," he said. "The responders just made all the difference in the world, saving a lot of lives."
That community response has been overwhelming. From the transportation to the support of family members, to support from the community today, there's been help every step of the way.
"It solidifies why I've been here the 23 years that I have," Sherwood Fire Battalion Chief Judie Hartman said. "It seems like, within Sherwood, the entire community is the volunteer base— not just one particular group."
Holman says all residents should be in beds in other homes Tuesday night. He says that's thanks to the network of retirement facilities across Sherwood.
Hartman says they still don't have a cause for the fire, but they are investigating.
The first officer on the scene was treated for smoke inhalation and released.