Staff Hailed As Heroes After Lightning Strike at Ironton Nursing Home

IRONTON, Ohio (WSAZ) -- A lightning strike Tuesday evening turned some staff members of an Ironton nursing home into rain-soaked heroes.

"My staff had everyone evacuated in the wing before the fire department even got here," says Jo Linda Heaberlin, the administrator at Jo-Linn's Health Facility in Ironton. "We're so blessed. This fire could have been much worse."

Lightning struck the nursing home Tuesday, burning a hole in the roof and setting off the sprinkler system.

Nurses and other staff rushed to evacuate 16 patients in a small wing of the hospital. Those residents are now in other rooms at the 159-bed facility.

No one was hurt, but nerves were frazzled. With water pouring down from the sprinklers and all the smoke, the staff had to evacuate some of the residents outside during the height of the storm's rain.

"I'm blind and I was scared," says Darin Vickers.

Wendy Wilson is on the activity staff and carried Vickers through an open window to safety.

"She made it better," Vickers says. "I love her."

"There is a God, and he was watching over us," Heaberlin says. "The fire department said we were just a few feet away from having a major fire. That wasn't the circumstance. God was watching over us."

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