Merritt hospital reopens after evacuation from gas leak scare

·1 min read
The Nicola Valley Hospital and Health Centre, the only hospital in Merritt, B.C., was evacuated due to a gas leak on Friday. (Interior Health - image credit)
The Nicola Valley Hospital and Health Centre, the only hospital in Merritt, B.C., was evacuated due to a gas leak on Friday. (Interior Health - image credit)

The Nicola Valley Hospital was reopened at 3:30 p.m. PT on Friday following a gas leak scare, and an announcement that the hospital was closed until further notice.

Interior Health said in a statement the air sensor alarms were triggered by gas coming out of a bathroom sewage drain at around 10:15 a.m. It said the smell of gas came from "a blocked pipe and a reaction with drain cleaning fluid in that pipe."

The hospital was evacuated and 10 patients were temporarily transferred to alternate locations.

The building was ventilated and the Merritt Fire Department and FortisBC confirmed the air was free of toxic gases.

"Our priority was to ensure existing patients and staff were safe," said the health authority.

A spokesperson for FortisBC said after investigating the odour at the hospital, they determined the cause of the odour was not related to natural gas.

"We take gas odour calls very seriously and public and employee safety is our number one priority," said the spokesperson.

FortisBC asks anyone who is concerned with their natural gas system or who smell gas to call the FortisBC natural gas emergency number at 1-800-663-9911.

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