UPDATE: One dead after nursing home fire

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) – One nursing home resident is dead after a fire ignites in one of the rooms.

Grand Junction Fire Department crews responded to a fire alarm at Eagle Ridge at Grand Valley around 12:37 a.m. last night, according to Grand Junction Fire Department spokesperson Mike Page.

Grand Junction Police spokesperson Kate Porras says that before the firefighters could arrive, a nurse found a small fire in one of the rooms and quickly put it out.

She then discovered a body in the same room. That resident died on scene. The victim was a 67-year old man who had been admitted to the nursing home just last week. His name is not being released at this time.

No one else had to be evacuated because the nurse put the fire out so fast. Authorities also say the sprinkler system never activated because it was extinguished so quickly.

Despite the tragedy, the nursing home's management says the employees did everything they were supposed to do in an emergency situation, and that the resident's medical needs were fully known.

"We do a thorough assessment of their needs, that was in place. Everything we knew about the safety needs of this resident was in place. So yes, it was a very tragic situation," Vivage chief business development officer Nancy Schwalm said.

Eagle Ridge has made headlines before. Back in 2007, the nursing home was cited for 25 health deficiencies, twice the number of the state average and three times the national average. New managment was brought in and turned the place around.

"[We] put a strong administrator in place, put a good team in place, and it's been really a good success story. As a result, [Eagle Ridge of Grand Valley] has been ranked independently by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid as a five star home," Schwalm said.

The nursing home says it will continue to work with authorities as the investigation continues.

Page says firefighters suspect the fire was caused by someone smoking.

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