UPDATE: Bentley Commons Evacuated Due to Burst Pipes
Lynchburg, VA - The Executive Director of Bentley Commons says residents are expected to return home Wednesday evening after a burst pipe forced them to evacuate.
Debbie Beamer says building inspectors have determined the complex is safe and they'll begin bussing residents back home around 3 p.m.
At last check, the Blue Ridge Community Church was housing 22 residents along with six employees.
More than 120 elderly men and women were displaced Tuesday night, some having to stay at a local shelter after a pipe burst in the sprinkler system.
The electricity and water were cut after a major water line break in the building flooded parts of the lobby.
Residents were moved to parts of the building running on back-up generators. Lynchburg fire officials say some time later, an attempt was made to restore water to the building and addition pipes began to burst. Fire officials then determined the building was no longer safe for folks to stay in and they began an immediate evacuation.
The facility houses 122 permanent residents, some requiring medical assistance. In less than 2 hours though, without the help of any elevators they were all evacuated.
About 100 were picked up by family in the frigid cold, the rest boarded GLTC buses to the Blue Ridge Community Church in Forest.
The church was already set up as an emergency cold shelter. Tuesday night they housed an additional 23 residents from Bentley Commons.
The Red Cross is also on hand there providing assistance to the more than 40 church volunteers.
The pastor there saying they're more than equipped to handle the evacuees.
"As many as they said 100 they had at one time. It's kind of gotten down to I think 28, I think most families have been able to come and get their family members at that time which makes it a lot better for the family member not to have to come to a strange place like this but just to be able to go home to a familiar place" said Dave Kountz, the church's Executive Pastor.
The church currently is housing 23 Bentley Commons residents; nursing staff from the retirement community will be staying the night there to monitor those men and women. The city has a building official working with contractors here to determine when this facility will be able to re-open we're told by fire officials it could be days.