FOX 11 Follow Up: Family reacts to bacteria in water supply at veterans home

KING – Some residents of the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King and their families are angry after they learned bacteria were found in the hot water supply. They found out about the bacteria from our story about it on Friday night.

“I watched it and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh. What is going on here?’” said Heather Stanton, whose in-laws live at MacArthur Hall.

The hot water supply at the building recently tested positive for Legionella, the bacteria that can cause a type of pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease.

Stanton says her relatives were never told about the situation.

“I was very frustrated to know that my in-laws didn’t know anything about this,” she said. “As resident, I feel that they should have been able to know exactly what was going on.”

“We felt we had it adequately addressed,” said administrator Jim Knight, the commandant at the facility. “We did not want to unduly panic or alarm people when it did not appear there was any major threat, even a minor threat.”

Knight says no health problems have been reported and the medical director told him there is no threat to residents. The facility has taken steps to kill the bacteria by doubling the amount of chlorine in the hot water system and raising the temperature of the water heater to 140 degrees.

“For this to be a harm to people they have to inhale it into their lungs and we believe the odds of that happening are very remote,” Knight said.

After FOX 11 contacted King on Friday, the facility added an extra precaution: Residents can no longer take showers in MacArthur Hall because of the possibility of water turning to steam.

Stanton says she’s happy the home is addressing the bacteria but she’s not satisfied with the way the situation was handled.

“If they didn’t want to cause a scare in the home, that’s one thing. But they could have let the families know at least,” Stanton said.

Officials at the veterans home say more water samples will be taken on Wednesday. But it will take at least 10 days to get the results. In the meantime, the precautions will remain in place.

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