Nursing home evacuated for lack of air conditioning

ISLAND LAKE – Tenants of an Island Lake nursing home have been forced to leave their living quarters by the Illinois Department of Public Health because of a lack of air conditioning.

Fifty-six residents at Sheltering Oak, 27888 N. Beach St., were evacuated because of unsafe temperatures inside the more-than-35-year-old building, nursing home President Leonard Pesz said.

They then were taken to Village Hall before being taken to other facilities or to stay with family members.

“This was brought on by the heat wave,” Pesz said. “We tried everything in our power to keep the residents comfortable until Mother Nature made that impossible.”

Temperatures through the weekend were at or near record highs.

Attempts to keep residents cool included moving all activities, programming and furniture to the dining area of the nursing home, which is air-conditioned.

Twenty-four individual air-conditioning units also were bought before state health officials decided to evacuate the building. Dehumidifiers also were used.

“We usually cool off the building by opening up all the windows and try to keep our residents safe by making sure they are hydrated and comfortable,” Pesz said. “The humidity continued to build inside, and the temperatures got higher and higher.”

The Department of Public Health checked inside temperatures Friday at area nursing homes.

“We found the temperature to be out of the acceptable range,” spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said. “Once the facility is able to maintain the required temperature, the department will reassess the facility.”

That includes reviewing the situation and possible site violations, she said.

Nursing home officials are in the process of gathering bids for improvements, which could cost more than $50,000.

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