DURHAM, N.C. (AP) – Preliminary information indicates a fire at a North Carolina hospital that killed a patient and injured three workers occurred during a defibrillation, authorities said, citing a procedure typically used to deliver an electric shock to the heart.
Spokesman Jim Jones of the state Department of Health and Human Services said the early information shows a spark and a fire took place during the defibrillation early Tuesday at Durham Regional Hospital. In an email sent by his agency, he did not elaborate on the specifics of what happened.
Defibrillation is generally used to re-establish a normal heart rhythm. Fire officials investigating the blaze have not said what caused the fire.
A Durham Regional Hospital spokeswoman said the fire was limited to one room of Select Specialty Hospital, a separately licensed acute care facility that leases space on the hospital’s sixth floor and has 30 beds.
The fourth and fifth floors also suffered water damage, authorities said. Twenty-two patients of Select Specialty and about 20 Durham Regional patients were moved to other rooms, said Kellie Peacock, marketing director at Durham Regional.
The fire was reported about 2:15 a.m. When firefighters arrived, the hospital sprinkler system had extinguished the blaze.
Hospital officials were investigating exactly how the fire occurred and just where it began, said Katie Galbraith, Durham Regional’s chief of operations.
The patient who died was critically ill, Peacock said. The medical examiner will determine the timing and cause of the patient’s death, she added.
Two Select Specialty employees and one employee of Duke University Health System were injured, she said.
The names of the dead and injured were not immediately released.
The hospital was operating normally several hours later. The waiting area showed no sign of the fire. Visitors entered and left, and doctors and other hospital employees went about their business, getting coffee and heading back to their work. A television provided the only background noise.
Karen Baker of Mebane was waiting while her husband underwent an outpatient procedure. She said she initially was worried when she heard that an explosion occurred at the hospital. She called to make sure the hospital was still performing outpatient procedures.
She felt better when she learned it was a fire and that it was limited to the sixth floor.
Durham Regional is a 369-bed acute care hospital.
Martha Waggoner can be reached at
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- The best places to celebrate Fall in Phoenix
- Infamous athletes who did the most time for their crimes
- 2016 baseball highlights, bloopers and blunders
- See how CFOs really feel about business in the Valley
- The best television shows on the internet
- A preseason guide to avoid holiday weight gain
- The 5 worst things you could do for your roof
- 6 coolest things brewing in Arizona
- The virus that keeps head and neck cancers on the rise
- State Fair ‘Kid Reporter’ has all the angles covered
- 4 important things to know about timeshare maintenance fees
- Signs of delayed car crash injuries
- The truth about sports concussions
- The Alzheimer's epidemic: Facts you need to know
- The season is here, keep your Fantasy Football team strong all season
- 8 TV shows you can't miss this fall
- Football is here: 6 tips to make this your best season ever
- Gameday recipes and beers to match
- 6 reasons the Cardinals are driven to win the Super Bowl
- The Pac-12 football season nears kickoff
- Tips to get ready for a pain-free golf season
- Protect your family with these 7 home security features
- How to train like an Olympic swimmer
- 2016 Olympics: A guide to must-see TV events
- The bride's guide to feeling your best on your wedding day
- Deciding when you need knee surgery
- Celebrating Fourth of July is much cooler in these AZ towns
- Top ten road trip bathrooms in America
- Six things causing a pain in your neck
- 5 things to make your summer move easier