Patients at Wexford General Hospital were told to “Grab what you can” and evacuate by staff, following the discovery of fire yesterday.
A major emergency was declared after a fire broke out in the hospital’s plant room and over 200 patients were evacuated and transferred to other hospitals.
Speaking to Lunchtime Live, patient Séamus recalled the moment he realised something was wrong.
“The alarms went off and somebody came running down the corridor saying, ‘Grab what you can, grab your phone, keys, whatever’s in your locker, whatever’s in your wardrobe,’” he said.
“That was basically it but it was absolutely incredible to see the way the evacuation was operating.
“Nobody felt in danger at any point - it was just so well done.”
Despite this, Séamus said some patients felt “really scared” and there was a “horrendous” smell of smoke.
When asked by presenter Andrea Gilligan why he seemed so calm recounting the story, he replied, “Maybe it’s the sedatives that they’ve given us there.”
Nobody was hurt by the fire and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly praised the “extraordinary response” of staff and the emergency services.
‘An extraordinary response from the emergency services.’
The Health Minister says it appears there were ‘no fatalities, no casualties and no injuries’ at #WexfordGeneralHospital. #Wexford pic.twitter.com/eOgxptBcHn
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) March 2, 2023
“First of all, can I pay tribute and thanks for the response we have had from our emergency services and from our staff here at the hospital and across the wider health services,” he said.
“The ambulance services, fire brigade, Gardaí have been absolutely exceptional. The staff here at the hospital have responded magnificently.
“Most importantly there have been no fatalities, no casualties and the latest information we have is that we have had no injury either from smoke inhalation or anything else from any patients, their families or from any staff.
“I have spoken with the senior team here on-site and they are emphasising the extraordinary response they have seen from the emergency services.”
Minister Donnelly said there was "no question" the hospital would reopen once repairs are complete.