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Fire Erupts In Hospital

July 6,2006
15 patients who were sleeping in Rhea Medical Center in Dayton Tennessee got quite a scare Wednesday night.

They awoke to the smell of smoke and fire alarms blaring.

All of the patients and hospital staff got out quickly without getting hurt.

About midnight fire started in a roof-mounted air conditioner unit near a nurses station.

Tiffany Ashley, the nurse on duty, saw sparks flying and the hallway filling with smoke. She pulled the alarm, called 911, and with other staff got patients outside.

One of them put the fire out before firefighters arrived.

Thursday most of the patient-room furniture and equipment was in the hallway as crews cleaned up the soot and took the time to do other maintenance like stripping and waxing floors.

It was a night they won't forget.

"It seemed like it lasted forever, it really did. But they said, we had it timed and everything, and it was actually only ten minutes, but it was very scary," Ashley said.

Rhea Medical Center CEO Ken Croom said "we are really proud of the staff, they acted quickly. Even staff from other departments came, and also families of the patients that were here were helping to move people so we thought it was very nice."

Investigators said wiring on a recently installed air conditioner over heated and caused the fire. Damage was minimal.

Three patients were transferred to other hospitals while the others went home.


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