The Emergency Room of the Surrey Memorial Hospital was evacuated this morning due to a broken water main. Fraser Health says the flood is affecting the ER and diagnostic imaging areas. The emergency department will remain closed for at least several days and a supplementary urgent care centre is being established at the nearby Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre.
Just before 9 a.m. it appears an excavator struck the main water supply for the hospital, and workers say the water just started pouring in to the ER. Nurses were yelling for patients to ‘get out’ and ‘evacuate’.
The water was contaminated and was about ankle-deep in some areas. Later tests determined it was mud in the water, not sewage.
Water has now been restored to the site and has been tested and approved for drinking and hospital use. Power has been restored and all elevators are operational.
When the water main broke, there were about 25 patients being treated in the ER, and they, along with anyone waiting to be treated, were transferred to the Jim Pattison Centre nearby.
Paul Naragliano, 74, said Monday he and other patients were transported to another area of the ER at Surrey Memorial Hospital when water started spilling in.
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“But the water, after one hour or so, was coming there too. So the nurses were all running around with rags and tried to stop the water and they asked us to go one floor up and we went up.”
Naragliano said he saw about 10 centimetres of water on the floor when patients were being transported out.
“I can walk, and I know what’s going on, but some patients needed help,” said Naragliano, who was wearing an oxygen mask as he was hurried out of the ER.
The facility will likely remain closed until at least Tuesday, but the hospital remains open.
All non-essential surgeries are being postponed, including cataract surgeries, and all visitors are being asked to go the physiotherapy gym.
A wall has also collapsed inside the ER due to the pressure of the water behind it.
No injuries have been reported.
Fraser Health says the Central Surrey health shuttle service is suspended until further notice.
Surrey Memorial’s ER is the province’s busiest.
BC Ambulance Service is diverting patients to other sites.
Patients arriving at Surrey Memorial for emergency treatment are being asked to go to other hospitals, but if that is not possible there is temporary ED triage set up in parkade near ambulance bay and ambulance will transport as necessary.
Officials are asking visitors who can postpone their visit to do so, and not come to Surrey Memorial unless you have to.
Visitors that arrive are being directed to first floor physio area where a social worker is on site to manage inquiries.
Parts of 96 Avenue were blocked off earlier, but it has since been re-opened.
– With files from The Canadian Press