Nassau assisted living center evacuated after flood

Maple Pointe resident Evelyn McAteer is evacuated on

Maple Pointe resident Evelyn McAteer is evacuated on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, from the assisted living facility in Rockville Centre. (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

More than 130 residents at a Rockville Centre assisted living center were evacuated Wednesday morning after part of the building flooded, forcing the electrical system and furnace to be shut down.

Authorities said the cause of the flooding at Maple Pointe Assisted Living appeared to be a burst pipe in a fifth-floor ceiling. No injuries were reported.

Tom Kranz, a spokesman for Chelsea Senior Living, which operates Maple Pointe, said most of the 132 displaced residents were taken to other Chelsea-run facilities and local hotels. Others stayed with their families.

Kranz said repairs were made and the power was turned back on in the afternoon. Residents should be able to return Thursday, he said.

A valve on a pipe leading to a rooftop boiler burst about 4 a.m., causing water to stream down an elevator shaft, Kranz said.

Chelsea president Roger Bernier said "6 to 12 inches" of water wound up pooling on the first floor.

"Thank goodness no one was hurt; no one was injured," he said.

Kranz said the problem didn't appear to be weather-related, but Rockville Centre Fire Chief John S. Thorp III said a frozen fire sprinkler pipe burst.

Residences in the building were not affected, according to Kranz.

Thorp said there was a delay in notifying authorities, with firefighters not dispatched until 5:14 a.m. -- after a relative of a resident called police.

"When we got there, there was severe flooding," he said.

But Kranz said employees discovered a slow leak and began investigating immediately. When the pipe burst at 5:14 a.m., it triggered alarms. He said the system automatically notified authorities.

Joe Merollo, whose 83-year-old mother Ida lives at Maple Pointe, went to the facility after seeing a news report about the evacuation.

"They were doing a good job moving the people that could walk," he said.

Ida Merollo and other residents with medical needs were taken to South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, Thorp said.

Because the elevators were out, firefighters helped carry some residents down flights of stairs, the fire chief said.

Kranz said the two assisted-living centers housing residents overnight were Somerset Gardens Senior Living in Plainview and Castle Senior Living in Queens. With John Valenti

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