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State investigating nursing home storm death

Posted at 12:59 PM, Nov 26, 2014
and last updated 2015-11-21 12:55:52-05

New York health officials say they're investigating the death of a 92-year-old nursing home patient who was evacuated following a snowstorm last week.

Ruth Snyder was among more than 170 residents of the Garden Gate Health Center in the suburb of Cheektowaga who was moved Nov. 20 amid concerns that heavy snow had weakened the roof.

A Health Department spokeswoman says Wednesday that the investigation is being done because the death happened under unusual circumstances.

A spokeswoman for McGuire Group, which owns the facility, has said the woman died after she arrived at a second nursing home.

Last Thursday, the ceiling of the nursing home was bowing in under the weight of the snow, forming cracks in the walls from stress. That prompted officials to order the facility be evacuated.

The nursing home is very close to a warehouse formerly owned by Rosa’s and currently owned by Dave’s Christmas Stores that had its roof collapse Wednesday morning. During that ordeal, nursing home residents were herded into the dining room of the facility as National Fuel investigated a possible gas leak.

Thursday several fire and rescue trucks were called in to transport approximately 180 residents to Appletree Business Park, where they were housed in the main corridor.

After being organized into groups, the McGuire Group transported the residents from the business park to DeGraff Hospital and one of their four other nursing homes as part of a mutual aid plan.

Ruth Snyder, 92, passed away after being transported to another nursing home.

An inspection Saturday revealed no structural damage and residents were returned to the facility.