Seniors Evacuated from Flooded Building - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/14/04

Seniors Evacuated from Flooded Building

A firefighter helps Stubbs Tower residents. A firefighter helps Stubbs Tower residents.

Eighty-five senior citizens were forced from their apartments after a water main burst. It happened around one o'clock Sunday afternoon at Stubbs Tower on Savannah's east side, turning the senior apartment complex on Bee Road into a sopping mess.

"It is a lot of water, a big problem," said Battalion Chief Don Bethune, with the Savannah Fire Department. "Our units arrived on the scene and found a large amount of water coming out of all the floors from the 15th all the way down."

Water poured out of the building for hours. Firefighters say the cause looks suspicious.

"Possibly, it may not have been an accident," explained Chief Bethune. "The leak originated on the 15th floor and we are looking into it at this time."

Emergency crews and the American Red Cross immediately evacuated all 85 people who lived in the building.

"Right now, it's a major disaster," admitted Virginia Mobley, with the American Red Cross. Many of the people who live in Stubbs Tower are in wheelchairs or need medical attention, which made the job of evacuating people much more difficult. "We are trying to find relatives for some of them to stay with," added Mobley. "Some will go to the hospital for medical care then we will assess the numbers from that point on."

"It is just a lot of water and chaos right now," said Shirley Watson, who came to get her aunt. "I saw all the fire department and I got scared and ran in and tried to find her," she said. "She was sitting with all the other residents."

Watson says the water is several inches deep inside the rooms. Firefighters and city inspectors determined the building isn't safe to live in right now and they don't know when the residents will be able to go home.

Many of the people who live in Stubbs Tower were taken to the Savannah Housing Authority's Resource Center on Wheaton Street. The American Red Cross has helped them set up a shelter there.

Reported by: Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com

 

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