LAKELAND, Fla. — More than a dozen seniors at a Lakeland senior living facility will be able to return home Friday after nearly two months of being displaced following a fire. More than 100 are still waiting to come back.
18 residents were cleared to come back Friday morning after construction crews repaired damage to the second floor of the facility and the floor passed inspection.
The remaining residents are still staying at other assisted living facilities or with friends or family members. It's unclear when they will be able to return.
Lake Morton Plaza Meridian Senior Living, located at 400 S. Florida Ave. in Lakeland, was evacuated in late June as a precaution after a fire started on the top floor.
According to Lakeland Fire Department, the fire started in a rooftop electrical box and was accidental in nature.
Officials said two residents and employees from the building were transported as a precaution due to smoke inhalation. The injuries were not life-threatening. All 128 residents and 30 employees were evacuated and accounted for.
However, due to AC unit damage, 90 residents of the building were moved to the RP Funding Center in Lakeland, and some of the residents were housed elsewhere. About 130 people were displaced.
While flames never threatened residents or staff inside the building, as it was contained to the roof, the elevator shaft did suck in air — shooting it throughout the building.
From the top of the ten-story building, smoke was visible from miles away.
Just 24 hours after the fire sparked, Lake Morton Plaza was filled with cleaning crews and managers to assess the damage and thoroughly clean the assisted living facility.
Now, a little over two months after the fire, those senior residents who were displaced get to return to the place they call home.