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UPDATE: Crews extinguish 2 fires at Victoria General Hospital

Police investigating as one fire suspected to be intentionally lit

Nobody was injured after a late-morning fire at Victoria General Hospital prompted a response from several Greater Victoria fire departments on Tuesday (April 4).

View Royal Fire Rescue Chief Paul Hurst said there were two fires in two separate rooms on the fourth floor and crews were able to contain them. Firefighters were ventilating the fourth floor and a stairwell around 12:30 p.m. after the initial call came in just after 11 a.m.

Police are investigating as one of the fires was suspected to have been started intentionally, Hurst said, adding his understanding is a patient started at least one.

After 30 years on the job, the Tuesday incident was the first fire at Victoria General in a patient area that Hurst has responded to.

“We come to Victoria General all the time for false alarms, this is the first recorded fire we’ve had in many, many years.”

Fire departments from View Royal, Langford, Colwood, Esquimalt and Saanich and about 40 firefighters in total responded. Hurst said that response was due to the complexities of having thousands of people in the building with mobility issues.

“In this case, some of the patients were able to shelter in place and some of the patients were horizontally evacuated to different floors or different parts of the hospital,” the fire chief said. “There is no room to hesitate in a building like this where you have people who are vulnerable and can’t escape,” he added.

The hospital is equipped with sprinklers and ventilation systems but they were not activated as staff and fire crews were able to control the fires. After controlling the fire, crews used the ventilation and the departments’ own fans to steer the smoke out into a stairwell and then up through the roof.

“It’s a complex event.”

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About the Author: Goldstream News Gazette Staff

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