Rutland nursing home could reopen by Friday
By Brent Curtis
STAFF WRITER | February 21,2013
A Rutland nursing home that was evacuated Tuesday after a boiler fire could reopen Friday.
Jeanne Moore, a spokeswoman for the Rutland Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center on Nichols Street, said the company was working to fix the boiler, which exploded Tuesday, and hoped to have heat and hot water returned to the building by the end of the week.
“We’re hoping to have it operational by tomorrow,” Moore said Wednesday. “We can begin returning residents once it’s warm enough inside to do so.”
Eight-nine residents at the center were moved Tuesday afternoon and evening to temporary locations as far away as Claremont, N.H.
Most were taken by ambulance to other senior residential communities in the Rutland area or to Rutland Regional Medical Center.
A maintenance worker at the nursing home and the owner of Dependable Heating in Castleton were also taken to the hospital on Tuesday for injuries suffered in the boiler explosion.
On Tuesday, a fire department official in Rutland said the two men were hospitalized after they breathed in superheated gases.
But Moore said the employee at the nursing home was released from the hospital later Tuesday and returned to work. She did not identify the employee and said that she didn’t know the nature of his injuries.
Stephen Fredette, owner of Dependable Heating, said he suffered second-degree burns to his hands, which were treated at the hospital. He returned home Tuesday night.
Fredette said he couldn’t discuss the cause of the explosion. Lt. William Lovett of the Rutland City Fire Department said fire investigators were waiting for a report from a technician who was taking the boiler apart Wednesday.
The evacuation Tuesday involved the concerted efforts of dozens of nursing home staff, four regional ambulance crews, hospital and nursing home staff at six facilities, a crew of city firefighters and a construction company.
Fabian Earthmoving of West Rutland was called upon to help move beds and other equipment from the Nichols Street facility to the hospital and two local nursing homes, according to John Center, one of the construction company’s owners.
“You’re never going to see nursing home evacuations on our business cards, but our guys looked at the situation like it could have been one of their parents up there,” Center said.
“We do a lot of work with the hospital, so when they asked us what the quickest and most effective way was to move the beds we sent a box trailer and nine guys to help move it all,” he said.
The construction workers were part of a small army of workers who helped to move not only patients and beds but medications, files and other necessities needed for the elderly residents — many of whom have difficulty walking or are bedridden.
At RRMC, a conference center in the Leahy Center was hastily converted by employees who removed dividers and furniture to make room for beds, according to hospital vice president Darren Childs.
Staffers from the senior home accompanied the residents to the hospital and cared for them there.
“We turned the conference room into a shelter, really,” Childs said. “Some people might think moving the residents is all there is to it, but it’s a lot more than that, especially when it’s dark and raining and you have a lot of stuff to move.”
Despite the difficulties, Moore said all of the residents were moved safely.
“We’re very pleased by the way it went,” she said. “Everyone was transported smoothly and safely.”