Broken Pipe at Pa. Assisted Living Requires Evacuation

June 10, 2013
A full scale evacuation of the Nanticoke facility required a number of emergency personnel.

June 10--NANTICOKE -- A broken water pipe damaged the Nanticoke Villa personal care home on Main Street on Sunday afternoon, temporarily displacing it 63 residents.

Ambulances transported them a short distance away to the Greater Nanticoke Area High School cafeteria, where they were provided meals by the American Red Cross. The last residents left the personal care home shortly after 7 p.m.

Luzerne County and Nanticoke emergency management agencies as well as public and private emergency medical services assisted in the evacuation.

Ambulances and vans lined North Walnut Street outside the entrance to the building. Emergency medical services personnel wheeled residents on gurneys to ambulances and lifted them inside.

Others in wheelchairs were taken to awaiting vans with power lifts. Residents who were able to walk boarded a school bus. Firefighters and EMS personnel loaded boxes of binders, supplies and movable cabinets onto pickup trucks.

There were no injuries, said Chester Prymowicz, Nanticoke assistant fire chief.

"At this point everything's going real smooth," Prymowicz said.

The initial dispatch for a water leak came around 4:30 p.m. A pipe on the third floor broke sending water to the lower floors. Code enforcement shut down the building because there was no electricity and the fire alarms and sprinkler system were inoperable.

Prymowicz was unsure when the damage would be repaired and the residents would be allowed to return.

Similar evacuations prepared emergency management personnel to handle this one, said Stephen Bekanich, the county's emergency management director.

Cots were being brought to the high school for residents. If the stay was going to be longer than 12 to 18 hours, he said, "we're going to make arrangements to get these folks into a more comfortable facility.

Efforts were underway to relocate some residents sooner to facilities where there was space available.

Family members of some residents were being contacted as well to see if they could take them for a couple of days, Bekanich said.

"It'll be more beneficial to them," he said.

Copyright 2013 - The Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

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