July 23, 2004
Twenty-seven ambulance crews worked through through the night to evacuate patients at a Scottsdale nursing home after its 30-ton airconditioning system failed Wednesday and the indoor temperature climbed to almost 90 degrees, officials said.
"We did take four of the residents as patients to (Scottsdale Healthcare) Osborn," said Mike Clark, spokesman for the Rural/ Metro Fire Department in Scottsdale. "They were conscious and talking but were not feeling well because of the elevated temperatures."
When the repaired air conditioning kicked back on at about 5:30 a.m. Thursday, about 65 of 106 patients had been removed from Infinia of Scottsdale, formerly the Casa del Mar, at 3333 N. Civic Center Plaza, officials said.
Patients were taken to nearby nursing homes and Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn hospital, located across the street.
"It was quite an undertaking," Clark said. "Some of the people were very, very infirm and it took some time to get them from the bed to the gurney."
Southwest Ambulance conducted most of the transports with 13 ambulances and six wheelchair-stretcher vans, said Josh Weiss, spokesman for Southwest Ambulance. They were assisted by Rural/ Metro firefighters.
Clark complimented the staff for deciding to evacuate patients before they became ill from temperatures that topped out at 111 degrees Wednesday afternoon and only dropped to 90 degrees during the night.
Gary Lopez, nursing home administrator, said the facility’s interior temperature never went above 89 degrees during the roughly seven hours that the air conditioning was off. He said the problem started earlier in the day when the air-conditioning unit was repaired for a water leak. It was turned off for repairs, but then would not restart due to an apparent blockage, he said.
Staff called the fire department for assistance at about 11 p.m. Lopez said all patients should be back at the facility by today.