Investigators: Knoxville hospital fire started by patient


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KNOXVILLE (WATE) – The Knoxville Fire Department responded to a fire at Physicians Regional Medical Center, formerly St. Mary’s, for a report of a fire on the second floor Tuesday evening.

When firefighters reached the floor, they were met with a heavy thick smoke and nurses with wet rags over their mouths and noses and evacuated patients for safety.

Fire crews made their way back to the room where the fire originated and found a patient and the bed where he was still lying on fire, even though the sprinkler had activated.

Firefighters assisted moving the patient to the emergency room of the hospital. Investigators believe the fire was started by the patient and not hospital equipment. A Bic lighter was found and is to believe what the patient used to start the fire, according to the report.

The patient was transported to Vanderbilt burn center for severe burns.

All patients on the floor where the fire started were evacuated along with patients on the floor below due to water runoff.

A total number of patients affected is not available at this time.

A Tennova spokesperson issued this statement:

Knoxville Fire Department was on the campus of Physicians Regional Medical Center to respond to an isolated fire in a patient room. We appreciate their fast response. No other patients were injured. There is no fire damage to other patient rooms but water damage from the sprinkler system required some patients to be moved. We are focused on ensuring the care of our patients is not interrupted.

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