By SHELLEY TERRY - firstname.lastname@example.org
The people looked around, talking mostly about better days.
Park Haven Nursing Home is on the auction block — starting bid $250,000 — and a group of about eight men and women came out Thursday morning to check it out.
They weren’t prospective buyers.
“No one came prepared to bid,” said David Bambeck of Bambeck Auctioneers in Dover.
Prospective buyers were required to present a $25,000 cashier’s check at time of auction to be qualified to bid. Total deposit of 10 percent of purchase price was due on day of auction. Any required financing was to be arranged prior to the auction.
Will Morrison said the price was too high.
“No one around here can afford that,” he said. “It needs repairs and there are back taxes to pay.”
The other lookers refused to comment.
The auctioneers blamed the media for the lack of bids.
The long-term care nursing home made national news last year after a methamphetamine lab fire exploded March 4, 2012 in resident Kevin Bucci’s room on the second floor. Shawn Warrens, 31, and Keith Bilbrey II, 27, were visiting Bucci when Warrens proceeded to make meth in a one-liter pop bottle in Bucci’s room.
When Warrens lit the bottle with a cigarette lighter, the bottle blew up on him, Bucci said last week in Ashtabula County Common Pleas Court.
Warrens suffered severe burns and an ambulance transported him to the hospital, but he died the next day.
Six other people were injured or suffered smoke inhalation, according to reports.
Park Haven employees evacuated the residents from the building when the fire broke out at 8:37 p.m. March 4, and Ashtabula City firefighters quickly extinguished, according to firefighters’ reports. Late that night, the chief cleared the structure for re-entry, but Bucci’s room, the dining room ceiling and a hallway were heavily damaged, the report said.
The facility closed its doors in late March after moving its residents to other area nursing homes.
Before the meth lab fire last year, Park Haven housed 39 residents in 31 rooms with most living on the first floor, according to the Ohio Department of Health report. About 50 people lost their jobs when Park Haven closed.
The Ashtabula Fire Department determined the fire was the result of the explosion of an illegal one-bottle, “shake and bake” meth lab operation evidently conducted by the fire victim, according to the ODH report.
Soon after, inspectors from the Ohio Department of Health uncovered several deficiencies at the nursing home.
In January, Bilbrey was sentenced to eight years in prison for his part in the meth lab fire.
Last week, Bucci also was sentenced to eight years in prison after Bucci pleaded guilty to complicity to aggravated arson and illegal assembly of drugs, according to court records.