Photos: 160+ Mass. hospital patients evacuated due to 9-alarm transformer fire
Multiple ambulance strike teams are transporting patients to alternative facilities in the area
Update on Feb. 7 at 5:22 p.m.:
BROCKTON, Mass. — More than 70 ambulances showed up Tuesday to transfer about 160 patients evacuated from a Massachusetts hospital that lost power after an electrical transformer fire.
The power was shut off at Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital for safety reasons, officials said.
“We are removing some critically ill and injured patients,” Brockton Fire Chief Brian Nardelli said at a morning news conference.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency said about 160 patients were affected. Firefighters said 77 ambulances assisted in relocating them.
Patients were still being taken to other hospitals “and we are evaluating patient care plans” as of Tuesday afternoon, the hospital said in a statement on its website. It was unclear when power would be restored.
All elective procedures are canceled through Friday, the statement said.
A message seeking comment was left with a spokesperson.
There were no injuries reported in the fire. Temperatures were in the high 20s (about minus 2 degrees Celsius).
Nardelli said the hospital’s emergency generator, which was supplying power to the building, had to be shut off so the fire could be put out.
Signature Healthcare is a 216-bed hospital. Brockton is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) south of Boston.
By Flint McColgan, Lance Reynolds
BROCKTON, Mass. — A fire this morning at Brockton Hospital climbed to 9-alarms as firefighters knocked down the dangerous electrical blaze and evacuated patients from the de-powered hospital.
Patients could be seen being wheeled from the hospital to a batallion of waiting ambulances outside.
Brockton Fire Chief Brian Nardelli said fire broke out in the electrical utility room of the hospital. He said it may have originated in a transformer in the basement. Fighting the blaze was complicated by the electrical nature of the fire and the danger it presented.
“While it’s energized, it promulgates the fire,” Nardelli said.
National Grid was on scene to cut power to the building, but once power was down, the hospital’s emergency generators kicked in, and they also had to be shut down, he said.
“Chief Nardelli has ordered a 6th alarm for a fire in the Brockton Hospital. Fire is knocked down,” the department tweeted at 9:24 a.m. “In addition to Brockton Fire resources we have requested mutual aid assistance. No injuries. Beginning evacuations of the hospital.”
Shortly after that update, the department struck a 7th and 8th alarm as the demand shifted to evacuation of patients in the facility. The 9th alarm was struck to bring in assistance staging the massive mutual aid response.
The department first tweeted that they were at the scene of the fire at around 9 a.m., but emergency communications show that a call was made by 7:12 a.m. that a transformer was arcing in the rear of the hospital and that it was smoky inside the building.
Nardelli said the fire is being contained by crews from Brockton.
Crews from the various surrounding communities called in to provide mutual aid are assisting throughout building and with the evacuation of patients.
Among the responding communities are Rockland, Hanson, West Bridgewater, Abington, Avon, Randolph, Hanson, Bridgewater, Hanover, Canton and Raynham.
The Salvation Army Massachusetts said it was sending canteen teams from Lynn and New Bedford to assist and provide support for firefighters and evacuees at the hospital.