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Lonaconing Woman Charged in Hospital False Alarm

May 28th, 2021 by WCBC Radio

Deputy State Fire Marshals charged a Lonaconing woman after dialysis patients were delayed receiving care when she intentionally caused a false fire alarm at a local hospital. 

On Monday, May 18, 2021, around 6:20 a.m., the City of Cumberland Fire Department responded to an automatic fire alarm at UPMC Western Maryland, located at 12500 Willowbrook Road in Cumberland. The fire department arrived and determined the activation was an intentional false alarm. At the time of the false alarm, a total of 16 patients were in the beginning steps of receiving dialysis treatment at the Medical Arts Center. Assisted by nursing staff, those patients, some of whom had to be assisted by wheelchairs, were evacuated from the building.

After reviewing the surveillance video, UPMC Western Maryland security identified a suspect and contacted the Cumberland Fire Department Fire Marshals Office and the Office of the State Fire Marshal for assistance.

Upon reviewing the video, investigators concluded Karena Eileen Heslop, 41, had left the hospital through the emergency room entrance where she walked a short distance to the fire alarm, removed the protective cover, and then intentionally pulled the fire alarm.

Deputy State Fire Marshals charged Heslop with Causing a False Fire Alarm, Reckless Endangerment, Disorderly Conduct, and Violation of the State Fire Prevention Regulation. Heslop was arrested yesterday in Garrett County and taken before a District Court Commissioner. She has since been released her recognizance.

"Causing a false alarm is not only against the law; it puts people at risk of injury. Responding personnel could potentially be involved in an accident when responding to or leaving the scene, and it could result in a delayed response to a real fire or another medical emergency," stated State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci.