Motorists ignored sirens; delayed Fire Service from getting to GPHC fire


Fire Chief Gregory Wickham is calling on motorists to adhere to emergency sirens and clear the roadways.

The Fire Chief said that while the fire Wednesday at the Psychiatric Ward of the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) was extinguished in a timely manner, he said motorists delayed the timely arrival of the fire service.

“Our time to get here was impeded very greatly by those motorists who did not heed to the use of the siren; and an institution such as this where we have thousands of patients we cannot afford to have our progress impede by those stubborn or reckless motorists,” the Fire Chief said.

Fire Chief Gregory Wickham

Staff at the hospital was able to quickly contain the fire before the fire service arrived. The hospital employees also evacuated a total of 48 patients.

The GPHC over the years has been conducting fire safety training and that resulted in the speedy evacuation of patients and the extinguishing of the fire.

A patient, Maylene Nurse, who was visiting the hospital told the News Room what she heard happened.

“I was on my way to the hospital, coming to the clinic and I saw the smoke and the fire (truck) and when I reach they told me that somebody of unsound mind lit the fire downstairs,” the patient said.

Patients and staff were evacuated from the building

Following an emergency meeting at the hospital after the fire, which damaged the ceiling and beds in the ward, Chief Executive Officer Brigadier (retired) George Lewis said the building should be back in operation within 24 hours

“We anticipate that and because they are no structural damages to the building we will be able to return patients to the male medical ward and IDW [Infectious Disease Ward] upstairs, we are following up and we are going to be having some meetings with the person from the psychiatric department to look at relocating the current patients we have and continue to provide service,” the Hospital’s CEO said.

The News Room understands that the fire was started by one of the patients in the ward; however, Brigadier Lewis said this was only speculation.

“I would not want to comment on that; I would allow the fire service to conduct their investigation,” Brigadier Lewis stated.

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