Flooding from Hurricane Harvey unleashed chaos at nursing homes in southeast Texas. Video from Port Arthur showed dozens of wheelchair-bound senior citizens sitting in several feet of filthy water.
The Lake Arthur Place nursing home and Cypress Glen facility both sit empty six months after 74 elderly residents were evacuated from the flooded buildings.
Volunteer boat crews helped shuttle the senior citizens to the end of the road, organizing at a local theater. From there, the elderly residents were taken by helicopter to hospitals or other senior care facilities out of the path of the storm.
A San Antonio man who helped rescue hundreds of Harvey victims says that the nursing home evacuation still haunts him.
“It was over a hundred elderly people and that’s where it hit us,” Frank Garza said. “Everything was real. It was pretty devastating seeing the elderly people cry. It kind of hit home.”
Some family members of the residents say that they plan to sue the parent company Senior Care Centers.
After the storm, the president of the company released a statement saying in part:
“While we appreciate the rescue efforts of well-intended volunteers, those efforts must be coordinated with the authorities to help ensure the safety of those being evacuated.”
An investigation into the evacuation is being conducted by the Port Arthur Police Department, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, and the Texas attorney general.
A Port Arthur officer said that the goal of the investigation is to prevent a similar event from happening again.