PEI

South Shore Villa in Crapaud evacuated after propane leak

Residents were evacuated Tuesday afternoon from South Shore Villa, a 48-person nursing home in Crapaud, P.E.I., after staff smelled a propane leak.

'I'm very proud of everyone's efforts today to make sure the residents were safely moved'

'The evacuation went very smoothly,' says Ramsay Duff, CEO in charge of the South Shore Villa. (southshorevilla.ca)

Residents were evacuated Tuesday afternoon from South Shore Villa, a 48-person nursing and community home in Crapaud, P.E.I., after staff smelled a propane leak.

Staff first moved what was deemed a safe distance from the building, then ambulances and school buses took residents to the gymnasium of nearby Englewood school, its designated evacuation area.

It went about as well as we possibly could hope for.— Ramsay Duff

"We had phenomenal support by the 911 responders, and specifically the paramedics," said Ramsay Duff, the CEO of MacLeod Group which owns and operates South Shore villa.

Several staff members who weren't working came in on their own, giving the villa about 30 employees to help. 

Duff also credits good weather with helping the event go well. 

"The evacuation went very smoothly and I'm very proud of everyone's efforts today to make sure the residents were safely moved," Duff added, noting this was the first time he knows of that the villa had to be evacuated.

One resident did have health "difficulty" during the incident. She was transported to hospital where she was checked and released, Duff said. 

Students offered to help

Englewood's normal school day was interrupted by the incident. 

"The school was very cooperative, just excellent — we in fact had a number of students coming by the gym to see what was going on and offer help," Duff said. "The school staff were superb."

The residents of South Shore Villa were taken to the gym at nearby Englewood School, also in Crapaud. (Google Maps)

P.E.I.'s fire marshal and propane technicians were able to find the source of the leak and fix it, Duff said — dryers in the nursing home's basement are powered by propane.

Residents were able to be returned to the facility after about two hours, Duff said.

There wasn't time to notify all the residents' families, so the villa was still contacting families Tuesday evening. 

Thirty-two residents are in nursing care and 17 are in community care, in which seniors live more independently.

"You never wish for these things to happen," Duff said. "It went about as well as we possibly could hope for." 

With files from Donna Allen