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UPDATED: Fire damages hospital room

One person is in custody after a fire Monday at Kootenay Lake Hopsital caused $2,000 in damages.
Fire damaged a room at Kootenay Lake Hospital on Monday morning.

A 34-year-old woman is under investigation for arson after a fire Monday at Kootenay Lake Hospital caused $2,000 in damages.

Fire chief Simon Grypma said they got the call around 7:45 a.m. about a blaze in the isolation room on the third floor.

“The lone occupant of the room was removed by hospital staff and taken into police custody,” he said.

The fire was contained to the room and extinguished by hospital employees and the first arriving firefighters.

An investigation is underway to determine the cause and circumstances.

Some bedding was burned, while the room suffered smoke damage. There were no injuries.

“The fire department was happy to see the level of response by the hospital staff, as they acted quickly, both in the evacuation of the affected portion of the hospital and the initial response to the fire,” Grypma said.

“It’s very complicated, when you’re dealing with a lot of patients, who’s going to be removed and who’s not — depending on weather conditions, severity of the fire, and the staff’s ability to control it. It’s not just a [mass] evacuation like the Kerr block.”

He adds the hospital is designed for partial evacuations, either laterally or vertically.

Interior Health’s Karl Hardt says the isolation room is a holding area for patients under or awaiting psychiatric evaluation.

“The small fire was contained in the isolation room itself and, apart from the person in that room, we did not need to evacuate anyone else,” he said, further praising the work of hospital staff and firefighters.

“At this point, we have cleaned up the room and it has been vented using a fan and hose system to get the smoke out.”

Hardt says once the smell is neutralized, the room will be available for use again, which he anticipated would be within a few days.

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