Elevator fire caused evacuation at Gerber Memorial Hospital

FREMONT, Mich. (WOOD) – A portion of Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial Hospital in Fremont was partially evacuated Wednesday morning after a fire occurred in an elevator shaft.

The mechanical fire started on the third floor of the facility on S. Sullivan Street in Newaygo County around 4 a.m.

Hospital staff alerted 19 patients, including some in the intensive care unit, and gave them the option to evacuate to the emergency wing of the building as smoke started to fill the area.

“We were just sitting in the room this morning and all of the sudden, alarms.”

Daniel Huskamp told 24 Hour News 8 some nurses rushed into his wife’s maternity ward room to let them know there was a fire in another part of the hospital. The White Cloud couple just welcomed their baby boy to the world eight hours earlier.

“What was going through my head was I know where my truck is, I know where to put my wife and kid, so I can go back in and help. I’m going to be helping if we need to,” said Huskamp.

But the hospital staff said the fire was under control quickly.

Janice Stone, a hospital spokeswoman, said the evacuation process “went very smoothly.”

The evacuation was lifted around 5:20 a.m. and the hospital resumed normal operations about an hour later.

Fremont Fire Chief Brian Hettinger said the fire started in a motor in the elevator shaft, and everything was contained in the elevator system. There were no flames, just smoke, and there was no damage to the facility, and nobody was injured.

“We were able to contain the fire, everything’s well-run, and hospital staff did what they’re trained to do,” said the chief.

The staff alerted patients and tracked them until they were safely back in their rooms. No patients had to leave the building.

“We are trained to do this. We actually have drills to do evacuations in this kind of event, so the staff mobilized quickly,” said Stone.

Stone said the fire department and hospital mechanics will review the situation to determine how the fire started.

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