Hospital fire linked to strike

2010-09-01 11:19

Kimberley – The management of Kimberley State Hospital suspects that a fire in a linen room is linked to the public service strike, a spokesperson said on Wednesday.

"We suspect that the fire is related to the strike, but we don't know exactly what the source of the fire is yet," said medical director Lizanne Koning.

Earlier, police said a case of arson was being investigated.

Lieutenant-Colonel Mashay Gamieldien said the fire broke out in the linen room on the fourth floor at 18:30 on Tuesday night.

"We cannot confirm the cause of the fire. We are waiting for forensic investigators to arrive from Pretoria," she said.

No arrests had been made.

Smoke in the operating theatre

Koning said doctors raised the alarm when they saw smoke coming through the doors of an operating theatre, during surgery.

"They alerted the authorities, who arrived very quickly. [The doctors] closed up the patient and evacuated [patients] on that floor."

She said some of the hospital staff had joined the strike and there had been intimidation of non-striking hospital staff.

"The intimidation was well-contained. The police and military were present," she said.

"But this fire was not caused by an electrical fault so that's why we think [it was] started purposefully."

Patients on the fourth and fifth floors were evacuated.

A hospital employee was treated for smoke inhalation, but there were no other injuries and minimal damage to property.

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