The wife of a Delaware County man has sued the county-run nursing home alleging the facility did not provide a safe environment after her husband was engulfed in flames while smoking unsupervised and later died from his injuries.
Mary Rodarmel, of Norwood and the wife of Kenneth Rodarmel, filed suit in federal court last week against Fair Acres Geriatric Center in Lima, seeking in excess of $150,000 in damages.
According to court records, on Feb. 17, Kenneth Rodarmel, 73, who had Parkinsons disease, bipolar disorder and other medical ailments, suffered partial thickness burns to his face, neck and scalp and superficial burns at multiple sites on Feb. 17 when he caught fire while smoking alone on a balcony. He was given first aid and transported to Crozer Chester Medical Center and died March 11.
A report on the incident from the Department of Health and Human Services included in the lawsuit found that Fair Acres did not meet state requirements and failed to provide a safe environment for residents who smoke. The report found that of those smokers interviewed, 30 percent suffered injuries.
Kenneth Rodarmel, who needed assistance to eat, dress, and for personal hygiene, was in a wheelchair and still wearing the paper bib he used while eating when the incident occurred. He was smoking alone on the 9th floor balcony of Building 8 at the facility when staff saw flames coming off his body and clothes.
The report stated Kenneth Rodarmel had previously been found unsafe to smoke alone after burns were found on his fingers in Agu. 2014. He was allowed to become a supervised smoker in Sept. 2014.
After a Norovirus outbreak at the nursing homes, resident were allowed to smoke on their porches rather than in common areas, according to the lawsuit.