An electrical problem is believed to be the cause of the smoke at Stephens Memorial Hospital



NORWAY – A short circuit in wiring linked to recent construction is believed to be the cause of the smoke that forced the temporary evacuation of Stephens Memorial Hospital on Friday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Office of the fire marshal.

The results of the investigation are preliminary, spokeswoman Shannon Moss said. The fire marshal’s office completed its investigation and estimated the building could return to safety around 9 p.m. Friday.

“There was no active fire,” but there was severe smoke damage, hospital spokeswoman Abbie Graiver said in a statement on Monday.

It is not known which construction Moss was referring to, and she and Graiver did not answer follow-up questions about the source of the fire.

The hospital’s emergency department was reopened with a lab and imaging support about an hour and a half after state investigators cleared the scene. All other hospital services were closed for the remainder of the weekend and outpatient services resumed Monday morning.

Doctors’ practices were not affected.

The hospital wrote on its Facebook page on Sunday evening that all patients with appointments at Western Maine Pediatrics, Western Maine OB / GYN, Western Maine Surgery, Western Maine Primary Care, Stephens Center for Specialty Care, Stephens Physical Rehabilitation or for laboratory, imaging, perfusion, cardiopulmonary testing services and COVID-19 are expected to arrive as scheduled.

All hospital hospital services remain closed.

“The construction teams, in partnership with our engineering team and the service master, have worked tirelessly to get the impacted units back into service,” said Graiver.

The family’s birthplace – the hospital’s labor and delivery unit – and sections of the surgical unit remain under repair and more information on their reopening is expected later this week.

Norway’s fire department responded to a fire alarm at the Lower Main Street hospital around 2:15 p.m. on Friday. Shortly after their arrival, calls were made to fire and rescue teams in the area for help removing the patients.

A second alarm sounded around 3:30 p.m.

The 21 patients were all discharged by 7:30 p.m., Graiver said.

The hospital is a 25 bed critical access facility.

Eleven of the patients were transferred to other facilities, including Maine Medical Center in Portland, Memorial Hospital in North Conway, New Hampshire, Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, Market Square Health Care Center in Paris, and Norway Rehabilitation Center. .

The other 10 patients were discharged from the hospital.

The Norwegian fire service posted an update on its Facebook page early on Saturday.

“The hospital was evacuated and a first fire alarm structure was triggered,” according to the post. “It attracted Norway, Paris, Oxford, PACE, the Norwegian police, the Maine Fire Marshals Service and the west of Paris. Moments later, Command upgraded the call with Harrison and Bridgton at the scene. Greenwood and Woodstock provided station coverage for Norway and Paris. Oxford was covered by Poland.

“With the hospital evacuated,” the post continued, “ambulances from PACE, Oxford Rescue, Med-Care, United Ambulance, Bethel Rescue, Stoneham Rescue, Buckfield Rescue, Turner Rescue and Fryeburg Rescue were brought to the scene to assist to transport patients to other hospitals The problem was found in the hospital and treated.

Contacted on Monday, a member of the Norwegian fire department declined to give further details. Chef Dennis Yates did not respond to an email Monday afternoon.

Sun Journal editor Mark LaFlamme contributed to this report.

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