By Juli McDonald

SUDBURY (CBS) – One by one, the line of ambulances in Sudbury on Thursday evening seemed to never stop. First responders from miles away came to carefully evacuate 78 patients from a flooded nursing home.

“We’ve actually gone through the building and triaged each person. Later on, when we have people who are ambulatory, they’ll be put in buses and transported to facilities,” said Sudbury Fire Chief John Whalen.

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For the Bear Mountain at Sudbury facility, the literal and logistical mess started with roof repairs. Crews couldn’t close it up before a downpour leaked through the second and first floors.

“The kitchen, the dining room, the electrical rooms. Those were the main areas affected,” Whalen explained.

No one was hurt. But without food or air conditioning, everyone needed to get out.

Three patients with existing critical health issues were taken to hospitals, and they’re stable.

One resident of the facility left with a family member. The remaining 74 residents were transported via ambulance, van and bus to alternative Bear Mountain facilities in Andover and Reading.

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“He cannot be left alone. He is like a little child,” one relative said of her husband.

Dozens of other families were left desperate for information. The Bear Mountain team updated them by email, but with transports one at a time the process was slow.

“What we would appreciate is knowing where our loved ones are going to go,” an adult son said.

The move was a disruptive change for many loved ones who consider this facility an extension of their own homes.

“He is probably very confused. At this hour I am always with him. I sit with him, and he enjoys his dinner. I am very concerned,” the wife said.

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The building inspector said the structural integrity was not impacted, but obviously, a lot of things need to happen before anyone could be transported back here. A very difficult situation for a lot of families who have already navigated nursing home challenges throughout the pandemic.

Juli McDonald