Broken Pipe Floods Four Health Center Floors, Patients Evacuated

By: Jason Aubry Email
By: Jason Aubry Email
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Flooding of four floors at Penrose St. Francis Health Center forced the evacuation of dozens of patients Friday afternoon.

A water pipe feeding the sprinkling system on the fifth floor burst around noon. Hospital officials say, a window that was left open on the fifth floor was the cause of the frozen pipe.

It took fire fighters and maintenance crews nearly an hour to locate the source of the flooding. In the meantime, patient rooms, offices, and hallways were soaked by falling water.

Chris Valentine, a Penrose St. Francis spokesperson says, it's to early to put a dollar amount on the damage. "We'll have to evaluated how much it's going to cost to repair the building," says Valentine. The break occurred in a newer part of the aging building.

Evacuation of patients began around 3:00 p.m. and were expected to wrap up around several hours later. "There's no getting around the fact that this kind of building disaster is disruptive," says Martha Barton, President and CEO of Pikes Peak Hospice and Palliative Care.

In all, 25 patients had to be moved. Fifteen of them were behavioral health patients, the remaining 10 were patients of Pikes Peak Hospice's inpatient unit.

The hospice organization's administrative and outpatient offices on the building sixth floor were unaffected by the water damage, and did not suffer interruption of service.

Penrose St. Francis has been planning to shut the health center down in March of 2011.

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