September 29, 2008

Fire Starts in Hospital’s Cardiac Wing

A fire in the cardiac wing of London children's hospital may have caused a gas cylinder to explode, prompting evacuations Monday, the hospital director said.

Dr. Jane Collins, chief executive at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said between 30 and 40 patients -- some having to be roused from anesthesia pending operations -- their parents and hospital staff were evacuated, The Times of London reported.

"There was a fire in the cardiac block this morning ... and that seems to have led to an explosion, probably of a medical gas cylinder," Collins told The Times.

The only injuries reported were four fire fighters who suffered minor injuries, the newspaper said.

Collins said children were evacuated "to the appropriate place," depending on the degree and type of illness. Children arriving for outpatient treatment Monday were sent home.

"We are very concerned about the potential damage to the cardiac wing and the damage it could do to our cardiac program," she said.

Great Ormond Street Hospital was founded in 1852, the first to provide beds specifically for children in the English-speaking world, The Times said. In his will, author J.M. Barrie bequeathed the hospital proceeds from his novel, "Peter Pan."