DANVERS — One of the town officials who played a key role in the evacuation of 94 residents at the Twin Oaks Care and Rehabilitation Center on Locust Street on Sunday was Mark Carleo, the town’s public health inspector.
It was Carleo, consulting with fire Chief Kevin Farrell, who is in charge of the town’s disaster response, who made the call ordering the evacuation of the nursing home at 63 Locust St. due to a sewage backup and the inability of the nursing home to use its sanitary facilities or water.
Carleo said the sewage bubble-up was not confined to the kitchen but wound up almost throughout the first floor, in patient rooms and hallways.
Carleo said he had never seen a nursing home evacuated before and was amazed at how smoothly the effort went and how many ambulances arrived to ferry 93 residents to seven facilities in Danvers, Andover, North Andover, North Reading and Wakefield. One person was transported by a family member.
Farrell said he was impressed at how Lyons Ambulance, which is based in Danvers, was able to call for so many pieces of equipment, from communities like Beverly and Gloucester, and to staff them on a Sunday afternoon.
“It was quite a feat on their behalf,” Farrell said. LifeLine Ambulance Service was also used to transport residents.
Some of Twin Oaks’ residents were upset at having to move, Carleo said.
“Some were crying, some were scared,” Carleo said, and many wanted to know what was going on.
“The operation itself was absolutely monumental,” Carleo said, who arrived at the facility just before 1 p.m. and did not leave until 8 p.m. Farrell, too, put in an eight-hour day. Efforts to clear what was at first thought to be a blocked sewer line by the town’s sewer division, using the town’s vacuum truck and a private contractor, proved unsuccessful.