As advised yesterday, the fire started around 2am in the Plant Room in Level 8 of the main building of Wellington Regional Hospital (WRH1) as a result of a power factor correction unit burning out. Fire and Emergency New Zealand is conducting an independent investigation and a report will be issued by their Fire Investigator once this is completed.
A power factor correction unit smooths power fluctuations for the hospital, maximises carrying capacity and can improve voltage to equipment and reduce power losses, but it is not an essential component of day to day operations. Work is underway to assess any potential long term effects on other equipment close to the fire source which may have been impacted by moisture or smoke. Currently everything is working as expected.
We are pleased to advise that there has been no impact on patient care either at the time or subsequently. No staff or patients were injured as a result of the fire, and four patients were moved to avoid any impact on them from leaks or odour from smoke.
The sprinklers activated immediately as they are designed to do and successfully extinguished the fire. Fire and Emergency services responded to ensure the fire was out and to assist with securing the premises and clean-up.
The water from the sprinkler system caused water to move down through some areas of the building, resulting in superficial damage to several floors of the hospital. Our facilities team are assessing smoke and water damage and are working as quickly as possible to bring the facilities back to their normal standard. We expect this to take a further five days. All clinical areas are almost back to normal, and the staff and visitor facilities will follow next. Some ceiling tiles will need replacing, and we are leaving these off over the weekend to allow for drying.
We are now well underway with the clean-up and we are thoroughly cleaning all areas impacted by water.
Lifts are operating and there is no impact on movement of patients and staff, but we have fewer lifts than normal in operation and there may be some delays. We are asking visitors to the hospital to consider delaying their visit until Saturday morning where possible, and to allow extra time to get around.
We would like to thank Fire and Emergency services, our hospital and facility staff for their work in bringing our premises back up to standard, and our clinical team who have worked tirelessly to ensure our high quality care to our patients has continued uninterrupted.
The response from everyone has been exemplary.
We would also like to thank the Wellington community for their kind wishes and understanding.