Fire Quickly Extinguished at Spencer Hospital

posted on Monday, January 21, 2019 in General

Spencer Hospital experienced a small equipment fire in the sterilization area of the surgery center late Monday afternoon. The fire was quickly extinguished through the hospital’s automatic sprinkler system, yet due to the spread of smoke in areas of the hospital, several patients were transferred to surrounding facilities.  

“It’s an unfortunate situation, yet it’s also rewarding to see the professionalism and rapid response of our Spencer Hospital team, the community emergency personnel, and our colleagues at neighboring hospital facilities,” expressed Bill Bumgarner, Spencer Hospital president.  “At no time were patients or hospital employees in danger.”

A hospital employee working in the centralization area smelled a smoke odor and noticed sparks and smoke escaping from a sterilization washer. She immediately contacted a co-worker who pulled a fire alarm. The sprinkler system extinguished the sparks prior to the arrival of the Spencer Fire Department.

 “An investigation will be conducted to confirm the cause of the fire,” Bumgarner said.

Sixteen patients were transferred to area facilities, including Lakes Regional Healthcare in Spirit Lake, Palo Alto County Health System in Emmetsburg and Avera McKennan in Sioux Falls.  

“We greatly appreciate the assistance of everyone – the neighboring hospitals and ambulance crews, the fire department and law enforcement, ServePro staff, and our own Spencer Hospital team – for their rapid, efficient response. We train for potential emergencies and it’s rewarding to see how everything and everyone comes together to calmly and quickly address the situation.”

Matt Cooper, surgery center director, said all patients scheduled for procedures on Tuesday have been notified their procedures will be rescheduled. Cooper anticipates the surgical center will reopen this week. Hospital staff and physician office personnel will be in contact with scheduled patients regarding any potential schedule changes.

All other hospital services are open and will be available to care for patients as scheduled or needed, including the emergency department. Until the surgery center reopens later this week, patients requiring admission may be transferred to an area facility depending on their care needs.