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Fire forces hospital evacuation

Patients taken to 'secure area'

LOCK HAVEN – UPMC Lock Haven Hospital on Cree Drive was evacuated Thursday night, with all the patients taken to a safe area after fire broke out in the boiler room about 9 p.m.

A hospital spokesman said maintenance crews were working at the boiler room earlier today sealing an old passageway, but the chemical sealant being used apparently had some sort of reaction and started a fire.

That’s the belief, anyway, but an investigation will further determine the cause, said Tyler Wagner, UPMC spokesman.

Citizens Hose Fire Chief Norm Wolfrom told The Express that firefighters encountered flames upon arrival.

The fire caused an acrid, toxic smoke, forcing firemen to don airpacks, frequently rotate into the fire area and take breaks.

More units were called due to the intensity of the smoke, he said.

Ultimately, more than a dozen units responded as firefighters and hospital staff moved all patients out and “into a secure, safe area” away from the fire or smoke, Wagner told The Express.

Roads around the hospital were closed as fire trucks arrived.

The old boiler room building is separate from the main hospital building and the old passageway had connected the two, it was explained.

No injuries were reported.

The Express remained on the scene into the night.

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