CASTRIES, St Lucia, Monday December 4, 2017 – A damage assessment is now underway at the Soufriere Hospital in St Lucia following a fire over the weekend – the second in less than a month – which left some parts of the facility unusable.
Unlike the November 9 blaze which did no major damage, the fire on Saturday night destroyed the maternity ward and other areas. But, as in the case in last month’s fire, there were no casualties.
The fire broke out at around 7 p.m. and investigations have begun to determine the cause.
Chief medical officer Dr Merlene Fredericks, who was among the health officials on the scene, said complete sections as well as some equipment were destroyed.
“We lost the mental health section, the maternity section, a fully stocked storeroom with medical supplies. We also lost some new 10th European Development Funded equipment,” she said, although adding that the primary healthcare section of the hospital was not damaged.
Dr Fredericks reported that the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) has been alerted about the fire, as replacement supplies and equipment may need to be procured.
Meantime, Minister for Health and Wellness Senator Mary Isaac said her team is moving swiftly to relocate all services that were offered at the Soufriere Hospital.
“Our medical team is doing their best to ensure that services offered at the Soufriere Hospital continue uninterrupted at different facilities. Counseling services will be made available to anyone who may be traumatized as a result of these events,” she said.
In the previous incident, the fire was quickly contained thanks to prompt action by staff and the fire service. The blaze was isolated to the records room of the hospital.