Patients evacuated as fire destroys the main hospital’s main electrical control room

Patients being evacuated from Acutes 7 & 8 into the Outpatients area of the Tupua Tamasese Meaole hospital about 8.00 this morning

By Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA: MONDAY 14 SEPTEMBER 2015:  Patients at the Tupua Tamasese Meaole hospital have been evacuated from the hospital’s Acute 7 and 8 while firemen rushed in to put out a fire at the hospital’s main control circuit board room on the first floor of Acute 7.

All patients have been relocated to the main hospital’s pharmacy and outpatient areas as an interim measure.

According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Fire & Emergency  Service Authority (FESA) Lelevaga Faafouina Mupo, priority is given to the safety and security of the patients and the public.

“Hospital officials have been advised to utilise all vacant areas within the hospital and close-by facilities to cater for patients now,” Lelevaga told Talamua.

“He said the smoke coming from the fire is serious and precautions need to be made,” said Lelevaga

The main control panel room houses the main communication equipment at the hospital which includes cameras, fire panels and machines that monitor everything that happens within the hospital.

“This is the first room the hospital officials go to identify the location of an incident that happens within the hospital,” said Lelevaga

“The hospital’s work centers on this room and it will take sometime to rebuilt it,” he said.

Lelevaga said the Fire Service was alerted about the fire just before 8.00am today.

“When the team arrived, they used lots of fire extinguisher powder to spray the machines and areas already burnt,” he said.

The flames have already destroyed the interior of the room, but fortunately the fire service team arrived in time to spray the room before the flames reached oxygen containers  and the main power machine.

The control room is under the supervision of a Chinese team working on the constrution of the hospital.

At the hospital this morning, patients were left stranded outside the hospital as nurses and officials tried to find proper areas to place them.

Both Acute 7 and 8 will have been closed for the whole day, but there is a possibility that it might  be closed for a longer period depending on how the work is conducted on the building.

Several patients told the media that they smelt burnt rubber in the early hours of the morning.

“I was buying coffee from the shop across from the hospital when I smelt something burning, but I could not see any flames,” said Mandy Fruean of Vaivase whose child is a patient at the Children’s Ward.

Returning to hospital, she saw patients being wheeled out of the hospital and people rushing in and out.

She acknowledged the quick actions by the hospital nurses and officials is evacuating the building.

Appointments scheduled for this morning hav been rescheduled and the public is advised to tune in to the radio for any updates from the Ministry of  Heath and National Health Services.