Nursing Home Evacuated

Burst pipe forces nursing home residents out


Nearly a dozen residents at the Foyer Pere Fiset nursing home in Chéticamp, N.S., are sleeping in the facility's boardroom, activity room and front lounge due to damage caused by burst pipes.

It's estimated the building suffered as much as $1 million in water damage in December, and some residents have been bunking two or three to a room in the makeshift bedrooms ever since.

"Everybody's coping as best they can," said Mona Poirier, the administrator of the nursing home.

Repairs are expected to take another two to three months and will be covered by insurance.

'Water started to trickle'

On Dec. 16, a sprinkler pipe in the attic froze and burst, causing some damage to a recreation room below, according to Poirier. On the following Sunday morning, a second rupture in the pipe over the facility's residential care wing caused parts of the ceiling to collapse.

"The water started to trickle through the light fixtures and through the sprinkler heads of the sprinkler system," she said.

"The fire department was dispatched and they were wonderful to assist us in clearing out all this water. And then after a while, later on in the morning, the ceiling came through."

Poirier said it wasn't a total collapse, but "pieces of drywall were hanging, and light fixtures were hanging from the ceiling."

Residents sleeping in boardroom, front lounge

There were no residents in the room at the time and no one was injured.

The wing's 10 residents were moved into common spaces on the other side of the building, which houses the facility's 60 long-term care residents.

"We have residents set up in our front lounge, we have some in our boardroom, and we have some in our old activity room," said Poirier.

Bad timing

Alfred Poirier, the vice-chair of Foyer Pere Fiset's board and a municipal councillor for the area, said the situation has been handled professionally by the fire department, management and employees.

"There's no good time, but especially during the holidays when everybody was preparing for the big feast. Then suddenly you have a problem like this," he said.

Mona Poirier said both residents and families have been understanding.

"It is an inconvenience somewhat for them not to have their private rooms and private bathrooms, but everybody seems to be in relatively good spirits," she said.

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