, Salem, MA

January 31, 2013

Residents return to nursing home month after evacuation

Twin Oaks evacuated a month ago


---- — DANVERS — Residents of the Twin Oaks nursing home should be back home on Monday, just about a month after a broken sewer pipe forced an evacuation of the building.

About 60 residents on the second and third floors moved back in late last week, when the kitchen and other utilities were back up and running, said Twin Oaks administrator Gary DiPietro. Another 16 are living at a sister facility, Cedar Glen, on Summer Street. Both are owned by Genesis HealthCare.

Twin Oaks Care and Rehabilitation Center shut down Jan. 6 when a broken sewer pipe flooded the entire first floor with at least an inch of sewage. Ninety-three residents, some of them elderly and frail, were moved by a fleet of ambulances and chair cars to seven facilities in Danvers, Andover, North Andover, Reading and Wakefield.

“It was a remarkable collaboration,” DiPietro said of the response from town and fire officials, the ambulance companies, and Twin Oaks staff.

Since then, “the first floor has been getting a face-lift, if you will,” DiPietro said. The second and third floors were unaffected by the water.

The facility had to pass “swab tests” from the Board of Health before it could reopen. Public Health Inspector Mark Carleo said the tests were done after an initial round of cleaning to test for the presence of dangerous bacteria. When a few areas still tested positive, they were cleaned again and new samples taken. The upper floors were reopened once all the samples showed the building was completely clean.

“They have done what they were supposed to do every step of the way,” Carleo said.

Some residents who were evacuated have since been discharged from the facility, which offers short- and long-term skilled nursing and rehabilitation for patients. As for the remaining residents, “we will probably get them back on Monday,” DiPietro said.

DiPietro said he doesn’t know what caused the sewer pipe leading from the facility at 63 Locust St. to break where it connected with the sewer in the street. The pipe was repaired a couple of days after the incident.

“We are just happy to have our facility back intact on Monday,” DiPietro said.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.