Questions raised as patients evacuated after fire at Limerick hospital

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University Hospital Limerick

MANAGEMENT at University Hospital Limerick have confirmed that Limerick Fire Service was dispatched to the hospital this morning when a fire broke out in the bathroom of an inpatient ward.

It is understood that no patients, staff or members of the public were harmed during the incident.

UL Hospitals Group Communications Manager Elaine Connolly said that staff were alerted to the fire at approximately 6.40am and patients were evacuated without incident from six single rooms on the ward which were affected by smoke.

“Patients have been relocated to alternative wards, while the affected rooms are assessed and cleaned,” Ms Connolly added.

The incident occurred just days after a spokesman refused to say if the hospital had implemented a number of  actions it agreed following an internal review of fire safety procedures.

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The review was undertaken after a fire at the hospital led to the evacuation of its overcrowded emergency department last January.

A car fire broke out in a car park underneath the Critical Care Block at around 00.45am on January 11. Smoke entered the emergency department at approximately 15 minutes later and led to the evacuation of 96 patients.

No one was injured in the fire or the subsequent evacuation, the hospital said.

A UHL statement released on January 12 said that the emergency fire incident was “logged on the hospital’s risk management system and any learning will inform future responses to such incidents”.

The statement confirmed that an internal review would be conducted.

Questioned about the outcome of the internal investigation, UHL said that following an after action review, it was agreed that fire plans and fire safety manuals for the emergency department and UHL site were to be “reviewed”.

A spokesman added that “training and retraining of staff” would be organised in line with revised plans; that a fire marshal list would be reviewed and training provided where necessary”.

He said it was agreed that the hospital would establish a link with Limerick City and County Council “to ensure appropriate road markings at site entrance/exit to prevent vehicles causing obstruction”.

Hospital management also undertook to carry out a risk assessment of the underground car park to include evacuation process, storage of waste and chemicals, fire extinguishers etc”.

The statement concluded: “All of these actions are either complete or in progress.”

However, when pressed for a response on how many of the agreed actions had been completed or were in progress, a UHL spokesman replied the hospital group had “nothing to add” to what it had already stated.