GPHC’s Psychiatric Ward damaged by fire

What could have been a catastrophic disaster was on Friday averted by staffers of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), who sprang into quick action to put out a fire which erupted in the facility’s psychiatric ward.

Employees at GPHC standing outside as firefighters assess the damage

According to reports, the fire erupted at the facility at about 09:15h in the female holding area of the ward located on the first floor of the medical block building and was allegedly started by a psychiatric patient.
However, Divisional Officer of the Guyana Fire Service, Gregory Wickham told reporters at the scene that the cause of the fire is yet to be determined. He added that damages to the facility were not extensive owing to the staffers at the hospital, who managed to put out the blaze with fire extinguishers before fire tenders arrived.
“So they were able to minimise the damage before the fire service got here to put the fire out. Our investigators are doing their job…the ceiling was severely damaged; apart from that, the fire did not spread to other departments or areas,” he said.

The area where the fire started

Wickham shared that even though five fire tenders responded to the blaze, they faced immense difficulties accessing the building, noting that drivers chose to ignore the sirens.

Reckless motorists
“I advise that the motorists should adhere to the sirens…our time to get here was impeded very greatly by those motorists who did not heed to the sirens, an institution as this where we have thousands of patients, we cannot afford to have our progress by those stubborn or reckless motorists.”

Meanwhile, GPHC Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Brigadier George Lewis shared that some 48 patients were evacuated out of the building, but, nevertheless, other patients will be returned to the building while psychiatric patients are expected to be relocated and receive medical care.
“At the time, there would’ve been 6 patients in the psychiatric holding area. All of them were evacuated and there would’ve been 48 patients in total at the medical block….we anticipate that because there are no structural damages to the building. We’ll be able to return patients to the male medical ward. We are doing follow-ups on how we can relocate the current psychiatric patients and continue providing service”.
An investigation has since been launched by the Guyana Fire Service.