, Salem, MA

Local News

January 8, 2013

Sewer backup forces evacuation

Danvers: Officials don't know when 94 nursing home residents can return


“It really went off without a glitch,” DiPietro said.

Sister facilities and some local ones took in Twin Oaks’ residents. Farrell said they were taken to Hunt Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Cedar Glen Care and Rehabilitation Center, and Radius HealthCare Center, all in Danvers; Academy Manor in Andover; Sutton Hill Center in North Andover; Meadow View Care and Rehabilitation Center in North Reading; and Wakefield Care and Rehabilitation Center in Wakefield.

Farrell said he first learned of the flooding early Sunday afternoon when the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency called him. The center had already notified the town of a sewer problem, and the town’s sewer department was notified about 12:30 p.m. By that time, a private plumbing contractor had attempted to fix what was thought to be a plugged sewer line. Town sewer workers removed the manhole covers on Locust Street and did not find a sewage surge in the pipes, so it was determined that the issue involved the private line on Twin Oaks’ property. Another attempt to unblock the line proved unsuccessful, Farrell said.

When Farrell arrived, he saw at least an inch of gray water on the first floor, and residents had already been evacuated upstairs.

By 3 p.m., Farrell requested the assistance of the town’s vacuum truck to try to remedy the problem and to avoid having to evacuate residents. That attempt proved unsuccessful as the truck appeared to be pulling up large rocks, indicating that a line probably had broken. Around 4:30 p.m., Farrell ordered the entire building evacuated, given the facility did not have use of its toilets and sinks.

The evacuation at first proved a bit chaotic until a system was put in place to get the residents out to the waiting ambulances or chair cars. Farrell described the scene as orderly, controlled and cooperative among the Fire Department, ambulance services and Twin Oaks staff.

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