Ministry of Health team dispatched to probe fire at psychiatric hospital


An investigating team has been dispatched by the Ministry of Health to probe the circumstances that led to Saturday night’s fire at the National Psychiatric Hospital in Canje, Berbice which left several patients injured and dozens more displaced.

Health Minister Dr. Frank Anthony on Monday said while temporary measures have been taken to ensure the patients are housed safely elsewhere, quick action will be taken to ensure the building is repaired.

He said a team has already traveled from Georgetown to assess the damage done to the New Amsterdam facility.

“It’s unfortunate we had the fire because of some aggressive patients at the Fort Canje Hospital but we are taking measures on how to deal with this in the future.

“There were immediate steps to make sure the patients are housed properly… but we plan to start repairs to the building so people can go back quickly,” Dr. Anthony said.

He explained that the recommendations from the investigation being carried out will be used to build back a more secure facility.

“They are supposed to be there today and they will tell us what went wrong and why it happened… the report and recommendations will allow us to take additional steps,” he added.

Health Minister, Dr. Frank Anthony.

The News Room understands that the fire started following a fight that broke out between three male patients.

Police Headquarters in a statement noted that the incident occurred at around 19:30hrs in the Chalet Four Male Admission Ward which housed 31 patients.

Police said the matron, along with the supervisor, and two male nurses went to the ward where they saw smoke and heard patients shouting for help.

The Fire Service was contacted and firefighters managed to extinguish the fire, but during that time, the patients left from a southern door and nine of them went missing.

Several were subsequently found; two others remain missing.

Meanwhile, 11 other patients, who received burns about their bodies, were rushed to the New Amsterdam Hospital where they were admitted and are in a stable condition.

Eight of the remaining patients, who did not suffer burns, are now housed in the Acute Centre, while three are housed in Chalet One.


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