The Quakers Hill Nursing Home that was burnt down in an arson attack two years ago has been re-opened this month.
11 residents were tragically killed in the fire and a further eight were seriously injured by flames and smoke.
New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell and federal Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews were present as the new nursing home was opened on the same site on March 8.
Gary Barnier, the Managing Director of Domain Principal Group who owns the nursing home spoke at the emotional opening which was attended by many of the victims’ families and carers. He said he was always determined to overcome the devastation that had occurred on the site and rebuild the home.
"When I was standing in the ruins of the old Quakers Hill Nursing Home, I promised myself that we would not be defeated," he said.
"Today I get to say two words that I've been waiting to say for two years, We're home."
And undefeated they are, the new facility has three times more communal space than the burnt down facility and the capacity to house an extra 27 residents.
Balance Aged Care Specialists Principal, Eric Hiam was also present at the opening. “Nothing can take away the sadness of the loss of life after the actions of a lunatic. However, it is fantastic that Domain Principal Group have rebuilt a beautiful new facility & will again do what they do best, in providing care for their residents,” said Mr Hiam.
A memorial garden to those who perished in the fire has also been created in the center of the facility thanking the staff and emergency services who responded so professionally to the tragedy.
"To our heroic staff," and "To the emergency services who we cherish," read the plaques.
“ The carers suffered just as much as the families, as carers grow close to those they care for. The memorial garden is a touching tribute to those people they lost and to the services who battled hard to save them,” Said Mr Hiam.
Despite the horror that happened on the site just a few short years ago, Mr Barnier said 20 of the home's original residents will return to the new building, along with a number of staff.
On November 18, 2011 Roger Dean, who was employed at the Aged Care Facility as a nurse, burnt the home down in an arson attack pre-empted to hide evidence of a large amount of medication he had stolen.
There were 88 residents in the home at the time. The 11 residents who died were aged between 73 and 90.
Roger Dean pleaded guilty to 11 counts of murder and eight of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm and was sentenced to life in prison last year.
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