Burnaby Hospital emergency department reopens to walk-ins after fire

·2 min read

Burnaby Hospital's emergency department is open once again, nearly a full day after it was shut down because of a Sunday night fire that caused extensive damage and forced patients and staff to evacuate the building.

In a written statement sent Monday at 8:30 p.m., Fraser Health said the ER is accepting walk-in patients who are able to return home after treatment. Patients who need to be admitted to the hospital will be transported to other emergency departments in the region.

The health authority has said that its emergency department was not affected by the fire, but the closure was put in place to focus on ensuring the safety of current patients and staff.

Eighteen patients were transferred to other hospitals throughout the health authority's region due to an impact on air quality in some areas of the hospital.

The fire broke out at around 10:15 p.m. on Sunday. Fraser Health said Monday night that while there were early reports the fire was electrical, the cause is now considered to be unknown.

Assistant Fire Chief Dave Younger said the fire originated on the second floor of the north wing.

It required a full response from the Burnaby Fire Department, including 17 trucks and 58 firefighters.

"That's just about the entire department at that time," Younger said.

CBC News/Ryan Stelting
CBC News/Ryan Stelting

There were no injuries, but Younger said many people were displaced.

"They ended up ... shuttling people to other hospitals. And sheltering in place in the south part of the building and moving beds into hallways and whatever they could to accommodate," Younger said.

The north wing consists of six floors, he said, and the majority of them received extensive smoke and water damage.

Video from the scene shows patients in blankets and masks being escorted out of the building.