Lightning fire causes evacuation of 209 patients from hospital

Hundreds of patients were evacuated Wednesday night after an electrical fire knocked out the power at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.

More than 200 patients at Bayonet Point Medical Center in Hudson were evacuated after an electrical fire, that was caused by lightning, knocked out power to most of the hospital, Pasco County officials said.

Officials said a fire on the roof of the generator room was extinguished quickly, but the power to the hospital had to be cut. Pasco Fire Rescue Chief Andrew Fossa said the fire was discovered when the hospital's generator was turned on.

VIDEO: 12 a.m. update: Hudson hospital evacuation continues

All 209 patients in the hospital were evacuated, Fossa said, in order from most critical to least. Most power has been restored, but the evacuations continued because backup power is not available to the hospital.

Aid was requested from other counties, and crews from Pasco and Hernando fire departments went to the hospital at 14000 Fivay Road. Dozens of ambulances from as far away as Alachua and Orange counties responded to the call. Units also responded from Citrus, Sumter, Clearwater and Polk counties.

Other area hospitals took in the facility's patients.

"Fire rescue personnel, they’ve got to actually carry the patients by hand," said Pasco County public information officer Doug Tobin. "We can’t utilize the elevators. I was just talking to the fire rescue chief and he said it was too dangerous. He said we just don’t want to get someone trapped inside an elevator when we’re trying to evacuate."

"I can’t remember a time we’ve evacuated a hospital like this," Tobin said.

The hospital set up a number for families to call to be reunited with relatives: 877-344-1313 option 9.

The hospital will reopen when backup electricity is restored.

(© 2016 WTSP)


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