Twenty-five patients from Surrey Memorial Hospital's emergency room were evacuated earlier today due to a flood caused by a burst pipe. At around 9 a.m., the bottom floor of SMH, which includes the ER, X-ray unit and Rapid Assessment Zone, became inundated with 18 inches of muddy water following a construction mishap.
Those evacuated were relocated within SMH and incoming patients were triaged to other hospitals, including Peace Arch Hospital and Royal Columbian Hospital, as well as the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. No injuries were reported at the time of the incident.
Jennesa Reddekopp was in the waiting room when she and about a dozen other patients were told to evacuate because water was rushing down the hallway.
"They were calling the Code Orange and then not even a minute later, they were like, 'If you can walk, run. There's water coming,'" she said. "Within probably 30 seconds or so, the whole ER was flooded, and within a minute, there was a foot and a half of water. It was quick, and it was a lot."
Emergency response crews closed off 96th Avenue between King George Boulevard and 140th Street for several hours as water pump trucks helped clean up the spill inside. In addition to the diagnostic imaging rooms, other areas directly affected included centres for physiotherapy, rehabilitation and dialysis.
Reddekopp said the rupture may have been caused the by the extensive construction work for the hospital's $500-million expansion.
"At the front of the hospital, they were digging," she said. "I don't know if they hit a pipe or what, but it was definitely a main water pipe and it knocked down a wall in the ER."
Fraser Health issued a statement Monday, noting that during renovations to the ER, an excavator struck the pipe, which is the main feed of water into the hospital. The water leaked for some time, building up behind a wall before it collapsed into the ER.
"There's construction on the site right now for the critical care tower and it was a contractor that broke the pipe," said Tasleem Juma, a spokeswoman for Fraser Health.
Juma said that as of noon yesterday, running water was restored to the hospital through an alternate line, though on a limited basis. The Chief Medical Health Officer inspected the area and found that the water was not contaminated with sewage, so there is no concern over a public health hazard or decontamination.
Crews are still assessing the extent of the damage and how long it will take to clean up. It's unknown when the ER will reopen, though Fraser Health said it could reopen as early as tomorrow.
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