One Patient Killed, Three Injured in North Carolina Hospital Fire

A room caught fire at an acute care facility, but the flames were contained on one floor

By Raluca Anghel on November 7th, 2012 15:25 GMT

A room at the Durham Regional Hospital in central North Carolina was engulfed in flames early on Tuesday, November 6.

Durham Fire Department personnel were called in at 2:15 a.m., for a reported explosion. When they arrived, they found a fire had engulfed the sixth floor, and the hospital sprinkler system had already proven efficient in putting it out.

Authorities found that one patient had died during the incident, while three members of the staff had suffered minor injuries.

Preliminary reports note that the flames first started during a defibrillation procedure, in which an electric shock is delivered to a patient's heart, the Huffington Post reports.

The room that was torched had 30 beds, and it is leased to a Select Specialty ward. Patients in the acute care facility had to be moved on other floors.

As the sprinkler system was activated, floors four and five at the hospital suffered water damage, prompting the relocation of other twenty-two patients.

Fire officials are in the process of investigating the source of the blaze. Katie Galbraith, Durham Regional's chief of operations, stated that an inquiry was on its way by hospital staff as well, to determine what caused the fire and the victim's demise.

The patient that lost his life was critically ill, reports say, and it remains unclear whether or not the death was related to the incident.

Two of the injured were Select Specialty employees, while the third worked for Duke University Health System. None of the victims' names has been disclosed until now.

The fire was contained on the sixth floor, and the 369-bed acute care hospital was operating as usual, just a few hours after the fire squad intervention.
A room at the Durham Regional Hospital in central North Carolina catches fire
   A room at the Durham Regional Hospital in central North Carolina catches fire
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