Judge stops assisted living center shutdown

January 6, 2012 3:45:31 PM PST
A judge has temporarily blocked the NC Department of Health and Human Services from shutting down a Wake County assisted living center.

Thursday night, DHHS said Wake Forest Care Center poses an "imminent danger to the health, safety, and welfare of its residents" and ordered residents moved to other facilities.

Friday, WFCC owner Richard Cresenzo obtained a temporary restraining order blocking the action.

In a complaint filed in Wake County Superior Court, Cresenzo said to the best of his knowledge "deficiencies were rectified and addressed as promptly as possible."

"Today has been a shock. It doesn't seem fair, because this facility is safe," he said Thursday night in a statement to ABC11.

DHHS said its decision was part of a weeks-long investigation into the facility. The agency said conditions are dangerous to the "health, safety, and welfare of the residents and emergency protection is required to protect the residents."

Nearly 70 people live at the assisted living facility which is located in the 300-block of South Allen Road.

It is the same place where a 79-year-old man wandered away and died last month. Another person died after walking away from the center back in 2006.

Cresenzo's legal complaint stated he has 20 days to appeal the order to move residents out of his facility and he intends to do so. He also said repeated calls to DHHS to see if the agency's concerns about conditions had been adequately addressed and those calls were not returned.

He also said relocating residents, "many of whom are fragile physically and/or mentally … will cause many of those residents immediate and irreparable harm."

Superior Court Judge Abraham Penn Jones granted Cresenzo a 10-day restraining order while he hears from both sides.

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