Investigators have determined a three-alarm fire at Swedish/Edmonds Hospital last night was caused by an electrical problem in a subbasement mechanical room.
The fire was reported around 7:10 p.m. by an employee and the hospital's monitored alarm company. "When the call came in, we had firefighters at the hospital who were just getting ready to leave after transporting patients. They immediately went to investigate and located a fire in an electrical room in a subbasement," said Leslie Hynes, public information officer for Snohomish County Fire District 1, which provides fire service in the city of Edmonds.
Firefighters from Fire District 1, Shoreline and Lynnwood responded. No one was injured and the fire was under control within about 30 minutes.
While the fire was contained to the electrical room in a subbasement three levels below the ground floor, smoke drifted up a stairwell and reached some floors where patients were being treated. The fire also knocked out power to parts of the hospital, but most areas were able to continue to operate on emergency generators.
Hospital staff estimated about 120 patients were in the hospital at the time of the fire. Most patients were able to remain in their rooms. Some were relocated to other areas of the hospital away from the stairwell to avoid exposure to smoke. Patients were also diverted from the emergency room during the incident.
The hospital established an information area for patient families at the Pavilion Building on the hospital campus.
During the incident, 13 patients were transported by ambulance to other hospitals: Providence Regional Medical Center Everett received 11 patients who were in the emergency room and a patient with a condition that may have required urgent surgery, and Swedish/Ballard received one patient going into labor. "We had private ambulances on stand-by to assist with this process," Hynes said.
Firefighters set up fans to clear smoke from the stairwell. "We also worked closely with hospital staff to assess conditions on each floor and meet patient needs throughout the incident," Hynes said.