Chaffee Nursing Center evacuates 48 residents

Thursday, March 20, 2008
FRED LYNCH ~ flynch@semissourian.com Floodwaters on Wednesday covered Helen Street in Chaffee, Mo., where two vehicles were stranded near the intersection with Highway 77.

CHAFFEE, Mo. — As a chilly wind blew through town and water covered the parking lot and lawn outside the Chaffee Nursing Center, residents, ambulance crews and staff members worked to organize an evacuation of 48 residents to other nursing homes in Cape Girardeau, Dexter, Charleston, Sikeston, Kennett and Poplar Bluff.

The patients ranged from the frail but ambulatory to the bedridden. And while floodwaters were no longer rising at the Americare facility, the standing water on the lawn had filled the septic system.

"It is a voluntary evacuation," said Clay Crosson, president of Americare, from his Sikeston, Mo., headquarters. "We are just looking at the situation and not wanting to take a risk. We have sort of set up our own plan."

Along with the septic issues, levee problems at Dutchtown to the north, on Caney Creek to the south and a rising Mississippi River to the east that threatens to send backwater into creeks and ditches all played into the decision to evacuate, Crosson said.

"It is really just an ounce of prevention type of thing," he said. "We hope nothing comes of it."

The evacuation was preceding orderly about 3 p.m., with ambulances lined up and vans waiting for those who could walk out under their own power. Larry Chasteen of the North Scott County Ambulance District said he had crews on hand or in service from Cape County Ambulance, Stoddard County Ambulance and the South Scott County Ambulance District.

rkeller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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