East Ridge Police said a sprinkler system doused a fire at the Parkridge East Hospital emergency room Wednesday morning, averting a possible tragic fire.
At approximately 7:55 a.m., East Ridge firefighters rushed to Parkridge East at 941 Spring Creek Road on a reported fire in the
emergency room. Firefighters arrived in three minutes to find that a
single sprinkler head had activated and doused the fire in a soiled linen room.
Firefighters and the hospital staff cleaned up water and removed debris for several hours.
The emergency room was closed to ambulance traffic during the incident but was still taking walk in patients. Hospital staff also made
sure they could care for patients in other areas not affected by the fire.
Parkridge East CEO Mark Sims and Director of Engineering Gary Evans
praised both the quick response of firefighters and the fast action of the sprinkler system in containing and actually extinguishing the fire.
Mr. Sims said, "The sprinkler system did what it was supposed to do and saved our facility."
Fire Chief Eddie Phillips praised the hospital staff for their initial
efforts to contain the fire and protect patients in the emergency room.
He said, "Everything worked right. The sprinkler system, the fire alarm system, the hospital staff and the firefighters all worked as a team to protect the building and its occupants.
"Without that fast response sprinkler in place, we could have had a very serious incident with heavy fire and smoke throughout the area. Instead, we just had to determine the cause and origin of the fire, make sure it was out, and remove some water and debris from the building."
The fire is under investigation by East Ridge Fire/Arson Investigator
Commander Mike Williams.
The fire started in a hazardous waste basket in a soiled linen room and appears to have started when a portable surgical cautery (a battery-operated device that produces high heat to cauterize wounds and stop bleeding) was placed in the basket. Damage to the fire room was estimated at approximately $3,000.