Evacuating a hospital in an emergency is a huge task, one that a group of first responders in Maine attempted bravely and swiftly.
When smoke was reported inside the Stephens Memorial Hospital, a crew of firefighters, paramedics, and police officers helped get over a dozen patients to safety. Just before 3 p.m., the first alarm was sounded as smoke was said to be inside the hospital.
Initially, the reports said that smoke was seen on the roof. However, there was no active fire found there.
As soon as the rescue team arrived, they called for ambulances to assist with evacuating the patients. Firefighters from nearby towns were also called in to assist.
A second alarm was sounded at 3:30 p.m. No injuries were reported as first responders transferred the patients out of their rooms and clear of the hospital.
The patients went to nearby hospitals and some other temporary facilities. One of which was the Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School. While the parking lot was packed with first responders, a woman who was onsite said she did not see any flames.
The Norway Fire Department posted an update on their Facebook page
"The hospital was evacuated and a first alarm structure fire was struck. This pulled Norway, Paris, Oxford, PACE, Norway PD, Maine Fire Marshalls Service, and West Paris fire in. Moments later command upgraded the call with Harrison, and Bridgton to the scene. Greenwood and Woodstock provided station coverage for Norway and Paris. Oxford was being covered by Poland."
Three vehicles got into a car accident while the Norway Fire Department was handling the evacuation. Firefighters from Harrison and a Maine Forest Service ranger all responded then went back to the hospital.
The department also said that the issue was dealt with at the hospital. There was heavy traffic in the area due to the evacuation. Officials requested that the public avoid the area.
The cause of the smoke was never released.