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Police: Safire Rehabilitation of Northtowns nursing home resident found dead outside facility

safire north.jpeg
Posted at 3:31 PM, Feb 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-11 15:31:21-05

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Town of Tonawanda police say a Safire Rehabilitation of Northtowns nursing home resident was found dead outside the facility Tuesday.

On Tuesday a viewer provided 7 News with a photo of police vehicles in the parking lot and the New York State Department of Health confirmed to 7 News it is investigating a resident death at the location.

According to police, officers responded to the facility at 2799 Sheridan Drive around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday for an unsupervised death. 78-year-old Judith Schrecengost was found dead outside the facility.

Police said Schrecengost's family has been notified and the incident remains under investigation as police collaborate with the New York State Office of the Attorney General.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the police at (716) 879-6614, or the confidential tip line: (716) 879-6606.

7 News reached out to Safire for comment Tuesday but we have yet to hear back.

According to data from New York State, between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2021 there were 159 complaints about the facility, 35 complaint-related on-site inspections and 14 complaint-related citations. Nine of the complaints-related citations were related to residents rights, four were related to quality of care and one was related to "other issues" that could not be categorized. During the same time period, there were 103 total citations for complaints, certification and COVID-19 surveys. Sixty-three were related to standard health citations and 40 were related to life safety code citations.

State data shows between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2021 the facility was issued four different fines:

  • Feb. 2021: $24,500
  • Jan. 2021: $10,000
  • June 2020: $12,000
  • Sept. 2016: $12,000

In February and September of 2018, 7 News spoke spoke to residents and family of residents of Safire facilities who described the issues they faced.

In February 2018, Barbara Kent a resident at Safire South, told 7 News “I wish I could get out of here right now, this minute. I hate it here so bad. I can't take it...It's really bad here. Don't ever put your loved one in here, ever.”

“We make sure if we do fall out of compliance with something, we immediately react and do return to compliance,” Darrell Sokol, regional administrator of Sapphire Western Tier Facilities, told 7 News in 2018.

In September 2018, Ron Arnold a resident at Safire North, told 7 News, "if you questioned anything it was most unwelcome. It was quite touch and go several times with some of the staff."

7 News reached out to the facility for comment at the time, a staff member said a manager would call back but no call was received.