100 patients evacuated in major Wexford Hospital fire

The scene at Wexford General Hospital this afternoon (Pic; WexfordLocal.com)

By Dan Walsh at Wexford General Hospital

More than 100 patients from four wards, including the Intensive Care Unit, were evacuated after a major fire broke out on the second floor which is located above the main entrance to Wexford General Hospital this afternoon. Fortunately, no injuries are reported.

A member of staff at the hospital, who asked not to be named, told WexfordLocal.com that it was a normal day at the hospital when just before 4pm the fire alarm went off and an immediate evacuation commenced. “Our first concerns was  for the safety of the patients and, thankfully, everybody was taken to safety as quickly and as calmly as possible,”

Many patients were visible in bed wear outside the building and cared for by staff as ambulance crews and hospital staff prepared to find alternative immediate care. Many may be placed in other hospitals in the region and a fleet of ambulances have been drafted in to bring comfort as quickly as possible as patient health and safety is paramount at Wexford General Hospital.

WexfordLocal.com has been informed that St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin, is on standby to provide accommodation if required. Hospitals in Waterford and Kilkenny may also be used, however, it is expected that few beds would available.

Firefighters were quickly on the scene with units from Wexford, Enniscorthy, New Ross and Gorey tackling the blaze which shot up into the sky for almost an hour sending plumes of smoke into the air.

“We had seven engines and three other units plus a hydraulic lift apparatus on the scene and we are waiting for a second hydraulic unit coming from Waterford city,” Deputy Fire Officer Ray Murphy told WexfordLocal.com. “I am more relieved now because the fire is under control and everyone is safe,” he added.

Dozens of Gardaí were called to the scene to manage traffic arrangements which was extremely heavy at that time of the evening.

Chief Executive Officer of Wexford County Council, Tom Enright, attended the scene in the company of Senior Engineers.

Wexford County Council sent out an urgent message warning people to avoid the area while the emergency was in place and those living in the immediate area should “close windows and doors and turn off all ventilation.”

Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council Cllr George Lawlor said “the fire is substantial” but he was relieved that “there appears to be no danger to any patients or staff at the hospital.”

Emergency services will be at the scene overnight and a major investigation will be held to assess the damage caused and set about repairs and reopening the building as soon as possible. Substantial damage has been caused to the roof where the fire originated.   

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