The room was damaged, but not charred-looking. And residents who had been evacuated from the wing had returned.
So why did administrators allegedly get so upset when Margoles took photos of the damage?
Citing patient-privacy laws, Glendale Uptown Home's Executive Director Diane Donnelly wouldn't comment on what did or did not go down with Margoles at the privately owned, skilled-nursing facility at 7800 Bustleton Ave.
Nor did she share an opinion about my being able to enter Kirk's room when Kirk's own daughter couldn't.
She did, though, describe the June 30 fire as being so small "it was over in four minutes."
As for Margoles, 53, she admits that she can be nudge-y when it comes to her 82-year-old mom, for whom she is sole advocate.
"She's the love of my life," says Margoles, a Philadelphia public-school teacher who is divorced and has a college-age son.
So, her antennae went up when Glendale called to say that there had been a fire and that Kirk would be moved temporarily to another floor. Margoles went to Glendale to check on Kirk and to retrieve her mom's smoky-smelling clothes, for washing.
She says that there was a "caution" tape atop the doorway to the wing and that the hallway looked normal. On a whim, she pulled out her camera and took six photos of the damaged room.
"I don't know what made me do it," she says. "My mom is old, I felt worried. It just seemed like something I should do."
She says that an administrator saw her with the camera and asked her to come to the main office, where several other administrators accused her of trespassing.
"They told me to delete the photos or they'd have me arrested," Margoles says.
Stunned and scared, Margoles refused. An argument ensued. Finally, she says, she gave her camera to an administrator, who deleted the photos.
"If I got arrested, I couldn't afford attorney's fees," says Margoles. "I have a son in college. I can't put my teaching license at risk. I felt like I had no choice."
She left in tears. In the four years she'd been visiting her mom at Glendale, Margoles says she'd never had such a humiliating, intimidating confrontation.
When she returned later with her mom's clean clothes, she says, she was told she'd be arrested if she ventured past the lobby. They would bring her mom to her, instead.
Suffice to say, the next nine days did not go well. Margoles would show up, ask to see her mother in her room and again be forbidden. She says that she was told that the ban was "indefinite."
Reports show that police were summoned to Glendale four times during that period. Margoles said that she herself called 9-1-1 once, to ask for an escort to her mom's room. No arrests resulted, on either side.
"I never had a problem until I took those pictures," swears Margoles, whose son helped her retrieve the deleted images.
I looked at the photos. They're not great, so it's hard to know how well they illustrate the Fire Department's report that the fire was ignited by a lit cigarette in a locker. The hallway looks clear and empty.
Margoles was so angry, she filed an emergency petition in Common Pleas Court, seeking court-ordered access to her mom's room. Glendale received notice of the petition on July 9 - the same day that the Pennsylvania Department of Health made an unannounced visit to Glendale to investigate a litany of complaints Margoles had made about the home.
The DOH investigator found no problems and described Kirk as "congenial."
Only hours later, Glendale called Margoles to say that Kirk had suffered a "change in mental status" and was being admitted to the hospital. The next day, Donnelly wrote Margoles to say that her mother was not welcome back after the hospitalization.
"They kicked her out with no notice," says Margoles, who broke her foot that day and had to hobble around the city looking for a nursing home that could take her mom on short notice. Kirk is now at Manor Care Huntingdon Valley. But she is confused by her new surroundings and keeps asking her daughter, "When am I going home?"
As for Margoles, she keeps asking herself what she did that was so wrong.
As for Glendale, I hear it's harder for strangers to make it past the front desk these days, thanks to my visits.
I wonder if administration has 9-1-1 on speed-dial.
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