Middlesex County

Reading residents forced to relocate after pipe burst at assisted living facility

READING, Mass. — Dozens of seniors were evacuated from an assisted living facility Monday after a pipe burst and damaged electrical panels.

Firefighters responding to an alarm at the building shortly before noon found the broken pipe on the first floor and water leaking down onto electrical panels in the basement, Reading Fire Chief Greg Burns said.

Sixty-six seniors were picked up from the facility by family members, relocated to a sister facility or moved to a hotel accompanied by aides and other staff, first responders said.

Jean Bates and her husband, who are 100 and 101 years old and have been married for 78 years, gathered their belongings and headed home with their daughter-in-law who arrived at the facility Monday afternoon.

“It was stressful. I had to get the clothes for us and everything. And what am I supposed to bring?” Bates said. “I’ll be glad to get back here… It’s lovely. Good friends, good food, just everything.”

There were no report of any injuries according to police.

As of 9:15 p.m., police and fire crews had cleared the facility and all residents from that wing of the facility have been relocated.

“I commend the quick work by the members of Reading Police and Reading Fire in responding to this incident, ensuring no one was hurt as a result,” said Police Chief David Clark.

Family members of residents can call 617-596-5141 for information about their loved ones.

All residents are expected to be back in the facility in about 2 to 3 days.

“We train for this. We train very well with the fire department together for incidents like this,” Clark said. “We also have two comfort dogs with the police department. We had the comfort dogs come down earlier, and they actually sat with the residents while we were getting them ready to move out and hung out with them, played with the dogs for a while just to kind of relax the mood, take the tension down.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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