chapinBuses and ambulances on the scene at Chapin Hill at Red Bank nursing home preparing to move 113 patients, many of them wheelchair-bound. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

just_in1Authorities ordered the evacuation of the low-lying Chapin Hill at Red Bank nursing home Saturday as Hurricane Irene neared, packing winds of 90 miles per hour in North Carolina yet leaving the anxious Jersey Shore eerily calm.

Also affected by an evacuation order was the 40-unit Locust Landing apartment complex on Locust Avenue, Tommy Welsh, coordinator of Red Bank’s Emergency Management Committee, tells redbankgreen.

A 1 p.m., two buses and an ambulance were on the scene of the nursing home, on Chapin Avenue near the Newman Springs Road bridge over the Swimming River, preparing to relocate 113 patients.

Affected are 77 wheelchair-reliant patients and 8 bedridden ones, Welsh said.

Many of the patients were to be relocated to a sister facility in Mercer County, Welsh said, but that home doesn’t have enough beds to accommodate all Red Bank residents, he said. “They are are still trying to secure a location for 41 beds,” he said at 1:30 p.m.

Facility managers are being “totally cooperative,” and the Monmouth County Office of Emergency Management has pledged to try to help the center with transportation and placement issues later today if they are unable to resolve the shelter issue, Welsh said.

“Of course, the last thing you want to do is evacuate a convalescent center,” Welsh said.

The four-story brick nursing center and the Locust Landing apartments are the only structures affected by “code red” order issued late Friday by county OEM, which directed¬† towns to evacuate properties lying within designated flood zones.

No others exist in Red Bank, Welsh said, noting that the Oyster Point Hotel, while situated on the Navesink River, is not in a flood zone.

Police went to Locust Landing at about 10:30 to ask residents to move their cars, and found that about 70 percent of the residents had already vacated or were planning to do so. The order to vacate was issued about 90 minutes later, Welsh said.

“It’s right on the river. It’s about 20 yards away from the water,” he said.