BROCKTON, MASS. (WHDH) - Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital has canceled elective procedures through the end of the day on Friday, Feb. 10 after a fire forced patients and staff to evacuate Tuesday morning.
Crews with the Brockton Fire Department were first called to the scene around 7 a.m. for a report of a fire in the hospital’s transformer room. From there, the emergency response quickly grew in size as departments from surrounding communities were called in to assist.
With smoke pouring out of the back of the facility, evacuating patients became a priority while firefighters tried to make their way through the building.
“As we were fighting the fire on this side, we basically cut the building in half and operated the removal of all the patients that needed to go safely from the front of the hospital, away from any of the toxins that were throughout the building,” Brockton Fire Chief Brian Nardelli said during a news conference.
Nearly 200 firefighters and first responders were part of the operation, working closely with doctors and nurses to coordinate the evacuation of patients.
“I want to point out and stress that we were able to move all of our patients out of the hospital with zero injuries and zero deaths,” said Signature Healthcare CEO Robert Haffey.
Power to the entire hospital was later shut off by National Grid to ensure crews could safely maneuver inside, after officials noticed a potential electrocution hazard.
“Part of the issue is the emergency generator also hooks into (the transformer), said Brockton Fire Chief Brian Nardelli. “So once the hospital went on emergency power, we still had a difficult time making our way in without it (being) overly dangerous because of the electrocution issues.”
By 9:30 a.m., Chief Nardelli said the flames had been knocked down and that firefighters were monitoring hot spots.
Throughout the morning, a line of ambulances could be seen in the hospital’s parking lot as personnel worked to move patients in need of critical care to facilities elsewhere.
“We have to make sure we have the resources to be able to move some of these sick and injured patients,” Nardelli stated during a news conference. “Out-of-hospital time is a big issue with these patients, and we need to make sure that we can get them to an appropriate facility, but we have to move them there swiftly.”
Multiple crews from at least nine nearby communities assisted with putting out the fire and moving patients, including personnel from Walpole, Weymouth, Holbrook and Randolph.
A hazardous materials team was also called in to monitor air quality.
Hospital officials said they were working to evaluate all patients and will make sure everyone is safe and placed in an appropriate place. At least 160 patients were at the facility when the fire first started.
No injuries related to the fire have been reported.
During Tuesday’s news conference, State Fire Marshall officials indicated that the fire was likely not anything other than accidental in nature, and that severe damage to the main electrical room serving the hospital was being reviewed.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Massachusetts State Police Fire Investigation Unit.
In a statement Tuesday night, the Brockton Fire Department said anyone who had a family member transported from Brockton Hospital due to this incident can call 617-370-5971 for information.
“Signature Healthcare would like to express our sincerest gratitude to our front line staff and first responders,” Signature Healthcare said in a statement.
Brockton Hospital’s main building remains closed Wednesday morning as crews continue to assess the damage.
According to Chief Nardelli, the damage inside the hospital is “extensive” and there will be several meetings Wednesday on what needs to be done to get the hospital back up and running and how long it could take.
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