St. Petersburg Times (Local & Florida News)
December 9, 2002

Fire Temporarily Closes Emergency Room

TARPON SPRINGS (Pinellas County)
The emergency room of at Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital was closed for more than two hours Sunday (12/8) after a small fire broke out in the facility's laundry area.

No one was injured in the fire, which hospital officials say was caused when a dryer's electrical system malfunctioned.

At about 9:30 A.M., the hospital's sprinkler system was activated when wiring to the dryer sparked and ignited a fire.

"The electrical fire was contained to the room," said Ken Livernois, safety coordinator for the hospital. "It did go up into the light fixtures and melted those, but did not spread into other rooms. It was more smoke than anything else."

Tarpon Springs Fire and Rescue as well as units from Palm Harbor and East Lake Fire District Responded to the fire which was contained to the one room. Smoke reached the lobby of the emergency room on the same floor, a hospital spokesman said.

Patients and visitors were moved to another area while firefighters extingushed the blaze and the hospital was placed on "By-Pass" for other EMS agencies. The Emergency room re-opened around 11:45 A.M.