No injuries in Spencer Hospital fire; 16 patients moved to other facilities

No injuries in Spencer Hospital fire; 16 patients moved to other facilities

No injuries were reported but several patients were transported to surrounding facilities following a small fire Monday evening in the sterilization area of the Spencer Hospital surgery center.

The Spencer Fire Department in a press release indicated the fire was reported at 5:12 p.m. at the hospital, 1200 First Avenue East. A Spencer Hospital press release stated the sprinkler system quickly extinguished the fire before firefighters arrived.

Sixteen patients were transferred to surrounding facilities due to smoke that had spread to other areas of the hospital. Those facilities included 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,” Spencer Hospital President Bill Bumgarner stated in the press release. “We train for potential emergencies and it’s rewarding to see how everything and everyone comes together to calmly and quickly address the situation.”

Cause of fire to be investigated

The fire was reported when a hospital employee smelled smoke and noticed sparks and smoke coming from a sterilization washer. She immediately contacted a co-worker, who pulled a fire alarm.

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,” Bumgarner stated. “At no time were patients or hospital employees in danger.”

When they arrived, firefighters were directed to the surgical sterilization area in the southwest corner of the hospital, according to the fire department release. They found moderate smoke and water flowing from the fire protection system in the room where the fire occurred.

The fire was out before firefighters entered the room. The room’s sprinkler head had activated, extinguished and contained the fire in a surgical equipment sterilization unit.

Bumgarner stated the hospital will investigate the cause of the fire.

In total, 18 firefighters were on scene at the hospital for one hour. Spencer Hospital staff and the Spencer Police Department assisted the fire department throughout its response.

At about 7:45 p.m. ambulances from Estherville, Everly and Hartley were still parked outside the hospital’s emergency room. Several SERVPRO of Spencer and Iowa Great Lakes vehicles were parked outside the hospital’s east side.

Some surgical procedures rescheduled; all other hospital services open and available

Spencer Hospital Surgery Center Director Matt Cooper, in the hospital’s press release, indicated all patients scheduled for procedures on Tuesday have been notified that their procedures will be rescheduled.

Cooper expects the surgical center will reopen this week. Hospital staff and physician office personnel will be in contact with patients regarding schedule changes.

All other hospital services, including the emergency department, are open and available as scheduled or needed.

Until the surgery center reopens later this week, patients admitted may be transferred to an area facility, depending on their needs.

This story has been updated. The original story is below.


Original story:

A fire was reported Monday evening at Spencer Hospital.

Many details still are unavailable, although Spencer Police Chief Mark Warburton told the Signal the fire was under control when he had left the scene.

Warburton attended the Spencer City Council meeting at 7 p.m. He said he had been at the hospital in response to the fire before attending the meeting.

“When I left, the fire was out, it was well-ventilated,” Warburton said.

Emergency vehicles from multiple agencies were reportedly called to the hospital, though it was not clear if anyone was transported from the scene.

Hospital employees were not able to provide information when asked at the scene.

An ambulance from Estherville and an emergency vehicle from Everly were parked outside the hospital emergency room shortly after 7:30 p.m.

ExploreOkoboji.com reported on Facebook that ambulances from Lakes Regional Healthcare in Spirit Lake also were called to Spencer.

Several SERVPRO of Spencer and Iowa Great Lakes vehicles were parked outside the hospital’s east side.

This story will be updated.

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