Water sparks evacuation at Norfolk rehab center

WAVY/Jason Marks

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk Fire-Rescue helped a local assisted living and rehabilitation center with an evacuation Tuesday afternoon, but it could be days before anyone can safely return.

During routine maintenance of the generator at the Harbour Pointe Health and Rehabilitation Center on Hampton Boulevard, a sprinkler head discharged in the mechanical room. Water sprayed on much of the facility’s electric service panels and caused some flooding, according to Battalion Chief Julian E. Williamson with Norfolk Fire-Rescue.

The incident caused the building’s fire alarm to activate around 12:45 p.m., and Norfolk fire crews responded.

Dominion Virginia Power instructed the facility to shut off power to the building so the electrical service could be evaluated. The city of Norfolk mandated an evacuation of the center.

Photos: Norfolk rehab center evacuated

Nearly 150 patients were relocated to local nursing homes or hospitals. It was a slow process for some patients with more complicated medical conditions, according to Williamson. WAVY News’ Jason Marks was at the scene as the last patient was wheeled out of the building around 11 p.m.

10 On Your Side spoke with an administrator of one of the facilities that took in patients. Cateena Clarke said Norfolk Health and Rehabilitation Center is housing 27 from Harbour Pointe.

“We were contacted by Harbor Pointe to say they had a state of emergency,” Clarke said. “It was a very smooth transition. We were able to meet all their needs. Our chef came in last night and provided meals for them. Our nursing teams were here until at least 11 last night. We reassured them that we’ve been taking care of residents in this community for 30 years.”

A Harbour Pointe spokesperson said the center is expected to be closed anywhere from two to four days.

No one was injured during the incident or evacuation. Williamson said the facility’s administration is contacting families to let them know where their loved ones have been temporarily relocated to.

On Wednesday, the Harbour Pointe Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center released the following statement on the status of the situation:

Yesterday, the City of Norfolk mandated an evacuation of Harbour Pointe Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, located at 1005 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk, Virginia. At approximately 1:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, July 22, 2014, a sprinkler head was activated in the facility’s mechanical room while a contractor was performing maintenance on the facility’s generator. This resulted in water on much of the building’s electrical equipment and some flooding in the rear of the building.

Dominion Power also instructed that Harbour Pointe Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center shut off their power because of the water damage.

No residents or employees were injured in this situation and all residents have been relocated to area nursing homes or a local hospital. Residents will return to Harbour Pointe Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center when electrical power returns to the building most likely within the next two days.

As of this afternoon, the facility staff has made an effort to reach out to each and every resident’s responsible party.

“Some of our resident’s family members are not listed as his or her responsible party,” said LeAnne Bailey, Harbour Pointe’s Administrator. “We are currently trying to contact these family members from the location of their loved one.”

All members of Harbour Pointe’s management team are stationed at one of the nursing facilities currently housing Harbour Pointe’s residents. Bailey says they also have staff members located outside the evacuated facility available to answer questions if family members arrive at the facility.

All of the appropriate government agencies have been notified of the situation.

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