Emergency personnel and equipment swarmed Riverview Medical Center early this morning in response to a midnight fire in the hospital’s basement.
The fire was was extinguished within an hour without any apparent injuries, though individuals believed to be among the emergency responders were seen taking oxygen in an ambulance outside the hospital.
Patient care was believed to have been little affected, though fire and hospital officials were not immediately available to provide details.
An unconfirmed report indicated that the fire was started in a light fixture in the basement of the Blaisdell Pavilion, at the eastern end of the East Front Street institution.
No flames or smoke was visible from outside the hospital. Most of the fifth-floor lights of the Blaisdell wing were off throughout the response, though there were no immediate indications if that was related to the fire.
Hospital service workers David Johnson and Iris Rodriguez said they were working in the sub-basement linen operation when the alarm went off. The exited by the stairs, and found the basement level filled with a fog-like smoke, they said.
Security personnel were on the scene and directed them to leave the building, said Rodriguez.
“They were holding cloths over their faces,” said Johnson. “That’s how thick it was.”
A man who declined to give his name told redbankgreen that he was on the fourth floor, where his wife was in recovery after giving birth by C-section less than four hours earlier, when the alarms went off.
He said the alarms had been ringing for about 15 minutes when hospital personnel assured him that the situation was under control.
“It’s been quite a night,” he said, shortly after 1a, as he prepared to drive away from the hospital. “But my wife’s safe, the baby’s safe.”
The baby, a boy, is the couple’s first child.