State and local investigators are looking into reports that two people died in an understaffed Thomasville nursing home during the weekend winter storm.

Thomasville police say officers went to Pine Ridge Health & Rehabilitation Center Sunday night. They were responding to complaints that staff members were not answering the phone and had not been seen by some residents.

Police found only three staff members there, one licensed practical nurse and two certified nursing assistants. They were caring for nearly 100 residents.

Fire and emergency services responders were called in. Two residents were found dead, and two others were in critical condition, police say. Staff told police that family members had already been told about the deaths. The two patients in critical condition were taken to area hospitals.

Thomasville police say they are trying to determine if the company followed procedures for staffing during weather-related emergencies.

Pine Ridge is owned by Kinston-based Principle Long Term Care Incorporated. A call to the company seeking comment was not returned by deadline.

The home is given one star out of a five-star rating on Medicare's Nursing Home Compare website. The ratings are based on inspections, staffing, and quality-of-care measures.

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