UCH emergency ward gutted by fire

Chief Medical Director, UCH, Professor Temitope Alonge, inspecting the scene of the fire incident, on Tuesday. PHOTO: ALOLADE GANIYU

THE Accident and Emergency Unit of the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, was gutted by fire on Tuesday, igniting apprehension in the entire hospital, with thick smoke enveloping the frontage of the section.

Neither loss of life nor injury by staff and patients was recorded as sensitive rooms in the emergency section, the resuscitation room, the digital X-ray department, the operating theatre were also spared.

However, some couches and mattresses in the emergency department were not so lucky. There was also a major damage in the ceiling, necessitating the removal of the central air conditioning system.

The Accident and Emergency Ward of the University College Hospital, Ibadan was gutted by fire on Tuesday.

As a result of the incident, multi-million naira building and equipment were destroyed.

Eyewitnesses said the fire began with a loud explosion, with patients running in different directions as a result of the commotion it created.

An eyewitness said the explosion that occured before the fire was loud, adding that people around the place ran in different directions for safety.

It was reported that many many patients were rushed out from the wards, some on crushes and even beds., with relatives entering the building in a bid to save their loved ones on admission.

All the patients were, however, evacuated safely.

Speaking on the incident, the Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Professor Temitope Alonge, said at about 4.00 p.m., a spark ignited the insulator around the air conditioning system, resulting in the fire.

The CMD also revealed that some hours before the incident, staff of electrical department had noticed that a solar panel switch had a fault, which was quickly fixed.

According to him, since the fault did not come directly from the main electrical supply from Ibadan Distribution Company, the technicians decided to put on the electricity supply.

Soon after inspecting the scene, Professor Alonge said “I was on hospital round and was on the second floor in the theatre complex building when I heard people crying for help. I saw a thick smoke, came down the ramp and walked straight to the emergency department only to see a fire outbreak.

“But the good news is that apart from the fact that we did not have anybody injured, both staff and patients, the sensitive rooms in the emergency – the resuscitation room, the digital X-ray department, the operating theatre – were spared. It was the central location that was a disaster, but everything had been curtailed.

“The second thing I am grateful to God for is the central AC system actually had its base in the basement of the emergency department. A few weeks  ago, we had budded the system because it was becoming a nuisance to the hospital as cats were breeding there, water soaking through the insulators and damaging various ceilings in the operating rooms and many offices.