The Times West Virginian

Local News

June 26, 2014

Power surge at FGH triggers fire alarm

FAIRMONT — Tuesday evening, the Fairmont Fire Department went to Fairmont General Hospital in response to an automatic fire alarm at approximately 8:05 p.m.    

Capt. Mark Angelucci with the Fairmont Fire Department said that the alarm can be triggered by power surges, such as when the power goes out and the hospital needs to switch to a generator.

“When they switch, sometimes the alarm goes off,” Angelucci said.

The power at the hospital went out around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday.

While the fire department was there, they also responded to reports of a burning rubber smell in the hospital. According to scanner traffic, the smell was present in an elevator shaft and other areas around the hospital.

Firefighters investigated, but after a thorough three-and-a-half-hour examination of the hospital, it was determined that the odor was likely related to the power outage.

“We searched the entire hospital and everything was fine. The backup (generator) was in working order,” Angelucci said. “We think it (the odor) was due to some of the equipment running on low power.”

All three Fairmont Fire Department stations responded.

Angelucci said that the Marion County Rescue Squad assisted the hospital when some areas of the hospital were without power, with issues with the emergency power.

According to a press release from Fairmont General Hospital, the power outage Tuesday evening occurred after a regularly scheduled check of the hospital’s generator system.

Peggy Coster, FGH President and CEO, stated in the release that the outage “had no impact on patient care.”

“During this time there were no evacuations. The Emergency Department did experience a temporary diversion of patients but have resumed normal operations at this time,” Coster said.

The release also stated that an investigation will be conducted by hospital administrators to discover the causes for the outage, so that preventative adjustments may be made to keep the issues from occurring again in the future.

The hospital was able to resume normal operations around 10:45 p.m. Tuesday evening.

“We want to thank the community, our employees and physicians, the Marion County Rescue Squad and local fire departments for their support as we resolved these issues,” Coster said.

Email Colleen S. Good at or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.

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