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Burst Water Pipe Leads To Evacuation Of Long Island Nursing Home

ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A Long Island nursing home was evacuated Wednesday morning after a frozen pipe burst.

Water started pouring in from the roof at the Maple Pointe Assisted Living Facility on Maple Avenue in Rockville Centre around 4 a.m.

"It was scary -- a quarter after 5 when the sirens went off," said resident Ann Owens.

Long Island Nursing Home Evacuated

The immediate concerns were of heavy ice and snow melting on the roof and a possible collapse, WCBS 880's Mike Xirinachs reported. However, emergency workers quickly determined the problem was a burst water pipe on the fifth floor that was part of the sprinkler system and had been leaking for two hours.

Long Island Nursing Home Evacuated

When emergency crews arrived at the scene they found a foot of water in the lobby of the building, CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff reported.

"Apparently it had been going on for two hours before we were notified," Rockville Centre Fire Chief John Thorp said.

Emergency crews inspected the damage and repairs were being made.

"It did significant damage to the inside of the building, the electric was compromised, the elevators had to be shut down," Thorp said. "We had water in the elevator shafts, so we made the determination that the building had to be evacuated because the safety was compromised."

The facility is home to more than 130 elderly residents who all had to be evacuated because of flooding.

"There's flooding through the building," nurse Maggie Hagan said. "Some of the rooms are flooded and they said they had to shut off the heat."

"The water on the first floor when we walked was very high, we had to walk through water, and it was dripping down," a 91-year-old resident told 1010 WINS' Mona Rivera.

No injuries were reported.

"Anything like this is frightening, plus it's their home, so the most important thing for us is caring for our residents, making sure they are safe and secure and that's what we're in the process of doing now," said Roger Bernier, president and chief operating officer of Chelsea Senior Living, which operates Maple Pointe Assisted Living.

In a statement, Bernier denied that staff members might have delayed in calling 911.

"As soon as the emergency was obvious, 911 was notified," Bernier said."The overnight staff at Maple Pointe is fully aware of our emergency procedures and did the right thing as soon as it was apparent there was an emergency situation. There was no delay."

It may be more than a week before residents can return to the building, Gusoff reported.

"It's such a mess and so uncertain when we will be back in the facility," 83-year-old Peter Callahan told Gusoff.

Residents will stay at nearby senior centers, hotels or homes of family members until they can move back in, a spokesman for the center said.

"She called me and said she didn't know how she was going to get her breakfast -- that was her main concern," said Sharon Callahan, who is a daughter of one of the residents.

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