ERIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nearly three dozen nursing home patients were displaced after an early morning fire at Signature Healthcare in Erin

According to Houston County Sheriff Kevin Sugg, the fire left one man dead and dozens needing treatment. Officials told News 2 that the city’s fire chief was also transported for smoke inhalation.

The call came in around 5 a.m. Friday. It was a frightening situation for the entire community with a population of just 8,500 in the county.

“Small community, small town,” Charlie Ligon told News 2. 

His mother has been a resident at Signature Healthcare for several years.  

“Mom is 97. She’s probably the oldest resident up there right now,” he said.  

Everyone at the facility is like a family where he and his wife run a weekly bingo game. News of an early morning fire was not only devastating for those like Ligon but also responding personnel. 

“We are a very small community and a lot of these people that we put on the buses and seen go to the hospital [were] our school teachers that we had back in the day and business people that [employed] our families,” explained Sheriff Kevin Sugg. 

Agencies from surrounding counties raced in to help along with volunteers from the community as they battled icy roadways and mobility challenges for the elderly population. Busses were brought in to transport nearly three dozen patients to the nearby elementary school with the help of many. 

“A lot of them up there is family for us it hurts us and we just ask for prayers and for the healing of the community,” said Erin Police Chief Mark Moore. 

📧 Have breaking come to you: Subscribe to News 2 email alerts

The community is counting their blessings while asking for prayers as they continue navigating the days ahead, bringing in counselors for the patients looking to mentally heal from the tragedy. 

While some patients remained at Erin Elementary Friday night, the majority were transported to Signature Healthcare’s Clarksville facility. 

The TBI is investigating the cause of the fire.