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The heat is back on in the peopleCare long term care facility on Mornington Street, which evacuated all of its residents after a sudden basement flood knocked out the building’s furnace.
However, those residents, who have been relocated to 10 different facilities throughout the region, will not be moved back in until full renovations are complete. peopleCare CEO Brent Gingerich is not yet sure when that will be.
“The mechanical systems, elevator, kitchen, dining room... they all need to be fixed and brought up to code,” he said. “We don’t have a good handle on timelines at this point.”
In an interview with the Gazette, Gingerich explained the damage in more detail than was initially reported, illustrating just how extensive the flooding actually was.
In the middle of the night on Tuesday, Feb. 17, an employee on the third floor called the elevator up from the basement. When the doors opened, the employee was doused with two feet of rushing water.
“That’s how we found out about the flood,” said Gingerich.
He added the deluge was caused by a rupture in a water main in the utility room, but it’s currently unclear whether that rupture was caused by the extreme cold the region has been facing over the past month.
“A triangular piece about four inches long broke off right close to the valve,” he explained. “This was a five-inch main; similar to a fire hydrant turned on full blast.”
New boilers have since been installed, but damaged flooring will be ripped up and, being a long term care facility, there’s a fair bit of regulation and standards to be taken into account.
Luckily, Gingerich said the facility’s insurance coverage is excellent, and that the plan is for residents, upon their return, to enter into an environment better than the one they left.
He added the city helped out a great deal, providing emergency responders and utility personnel. The driver of the mobility transit, who drove all night delivering residents to their temporary dwellings, received an especial amount of compliments.
“The residents seem to be doing well, but they’d like to get back,” noted Gingerich.
“We’re getting things moving as quickly as possible.”