Residents Shuffled Between Facilities After Ceiling Collapse

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DALLAS TOWNSHIP – Officials who helped with the emergency evacuation of 59 disabled and elderly residents after a ceiling collapse at Back Mountain Care Center said many of the displaced people are scattered through facilities in Luzerne and Wyoming Counties.

First responders relocated the residents to an emergency shelter at Dallas Area Middle School on Sunday afternoon after a pipe connecting a fire sprinkler to the water supply burst and a ceiling collapsed in a resident’s room.

Care Managing Supervisor Barbara DaSilva told Newswatch 16 that only a handful of displaced residents are staying with local family members and that the rest were shuffled to several care facilities with open beds.

"They provided us with beds that they would have on an emergency basis to accommodate the individuals. We wanted to make sure that they wouldn't have to spend a night on a cot,” said DaSilva. “They could return. I'm thinking with family members locally, they probably would like to return. But the individual gets to make the choice about that."

Workers inside Back Mountain Care Center are optimistic that repairs will be completed in about one week.

A spokeswoman with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare told Newswatch 16 that the facility had several listed violations under previous management but more recent inspections didn’t show any problems and officials don’t believe there was any violation that led to the pipe burst and ceiling collapse.

The state agency said inspectors will need to evaluate the repairs before the facility can reopen.