Morris Hospital evacuated due to water in basement
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain firstname.lastname@example.org April 18, 2013 2:58PM
The entrance of Morris Hospital is busy with people attending to the aftermath of heavy rains and flooding on April 18, 2013. | Cindy Cain~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 20, 2013 7:54PM
Morris Hospital officials began evacuating the facility Thursday afternoon, after water from nearby flooding began seeping into the basement, a spokeswoman said.
The evacuation started about 2:10 p.m. when patients were being transported to Presence St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet, Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox, Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn as well as other area hospitals, spokeswoman Janet Long said. Emergency management officials recommended the evacuation of the hospital’s 44 patients after the nearby Nettle Creek overflowed its banks and the Illinois River continued to rise, Long said.
“It’s not bad right now,” Long said. “There’s just a little bit of water in that basement but we can’t wait to see what happens.”
According to the hospital’s Facebook page, outpatient services are cancelled for Friday. But the emergency department remains open, according to the post.
Paramedics and firefighters were on the scene, and ambulances were lined along the entrance as patients were being taken out by stretchers or in wheelchairs to make their trips to other hospitals.
At the same time, crews were outside working to sandbag the hospital.
“They’re continuing to sandbag because we want to minimize damage,” Long said.
The hospital’s basement houses the facility’s information technology department, cafeteria, kitchen, pharmacy and laboratory.
Long who’s been at the hospital for 7 1/2 years said the hospital has never been evacuated during that time. The hospital is located at 150 W. High St. in Morris, which is in Grundy County.
The county was hit hard by the flood, said Jim Lutz, director of the Grundy County Emergency Management Agency. About 10 people had to be rescued from vehicles trapped in water. Gore Road between Saratoga and Ashton roads washed away when flood waters receded. And residents of the Elliot Manor, Tudor Park and Ravine Woods apartment complexes were evacuated. Some of the residents were ordered to evacuate, others were leaving voluntarily.
The overflow of Nettle Creek had traffic at a standstill beginning Thursday morning. All Morris public and private schools were closed mid-morning due to rising flood waters from the normally small and peaceful creek, which runs through the middle of town.
Sarah Fisher said the normal five minute drive to take her daughter home from Shabbona Middle School took 45 minutes, with traffic being directed around the flooded streets. As of noon, the only east-west street that remained open in the city was Jefferson Street.
“It was like a raging rapid,” Fisher said of Nettle Creek. “They directed us through Goold Park Drive, and you couldn’t even see the (public swimming) pool. It was all underwater.”
A shelter set up at Minooka Grade School had about 10 people in it later Thursday afternoon, Lutz said.
“I have my Snoopy, my C-Pap (breathing machine) and a pillow,” Lisa Boggs said as she left the Tudor Park apartment she lives in and headed to the shelter. “Life is good.”
Sisters Alexis Meadors, 15, and Adrianna Williamson, 24, were helping their uncle pack up his apartment after they fled their own submerged apartment at Tudor Park.
“We have clothes for a few days and our laptops,” Williamson said.
Lutz said his department was concerned about rising river and creek waters overnight and into Friday.
“If the water continues to rise, Route 47 will probably flood over, but I’m not sure it’s going to get that bad.”
Contributing: Jeanne Millsap, Denise M. Baran-Unland