Independence nursing home evacuated due to bomb threat, police say

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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- Hundreds of seniors were evacuated from their homes Tuesday afternoon after a bomb threat was called in to the Carmel Hills Living Center.

Residents' family members showed up at the center. Some of them -- like Jan Rodriguez -- found out about the evacuation on social media. Her brother is bed-ridden, and she wasn't able to reach him by phone for hours.

"I just feel so bad," Rodriguez said through her tears. "One, that he is here; two, he and my other brother are all that I have left of my immediate family."

It took police two hours to search the large facility. They cleared the scene at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"Everybody in the facility is now is safe and sound," Carmel Hills executive Mo Polstein said. "It is really an unfortunate situation that someone would call and make those type of threats."

Polstein said the person who called in the threat said Carmel Hills had only a few minutes to evacuate the facility before the bomb would go off, which posed a special challenge for the assisted living and rehabilitation center.

"Part of this evacuation, we did have to utilize AMR, so there were ambulances involved, along with vans and buses," Independence Police officer John Syme said.

Some of the residents have medical issues that required them to be evacuated quickly. During the evacuation, the residents were taken to a similar facility nearby. Nurses and staff from the nearby facility were called in to help with the evacuation.

Police are still trying to figure out who called the bomb threat in and why.