The incident, which resulted in a 20-year-old man from Corner Brook being charged, happened in the emergency department area at around 2 a.m.
While the area affected in the emergency department was quickly confined, water seeped through the floor and flooded the laboratory in the basement area where collected blood is tested.
That area had to be shut down as Western Health went about assessing the damage to the room and the medical equipment contained in it.
The lab analyzes blood collected at various sites throughout the western region. Those sites had to be closed Friday.
Any urgent blood analysis was accommodated by the lab facilities at Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital in Stephenville, although that lab’s equipment and capabilities are not as extensive as the one in Corner Brook.
Cindy Davis, Western Health’s vice-president of patient services, said there was some disruption in the emergency department after the incident. The relatively light traffic at the late hour helped make dealing with the situation a little easier.
“We quickly managed the people there and had them assessed to either be admitted or discharged to their home or another facility,” said Davis.
The emergency department continued to accept and triage people who arrived at the hospital on their own after the incident.
Davis said ambulances and other health care facilities in the region were put on alert in the event any emergent cases had to be redirected somewhere other than Western Memorial.
Davis did not have an estimate of how many people were treated under the trying conditions, but said she was unaware of any cases having to be sent elsewhere.
As of press time, the damage assessment and cleanup was still ongoing.
The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is continuing to investigate the incident and is asking anyone with information about it to contact them or Crime Stoppers.
As for the man who was arrested, he was charged with mischief over $5,000 and with causing a false fire alarm. He was released and is scheduled to appear in provincial court in Corner Brook Sept. 12.
The following blood collection centres are closed due to water damage in the processing lab at Western Memorial Regional Hospital. Western Health will advise the public when blood collection is available. An update will be available on Western Health’s website on Sunday
- Bonne Bay Health Centre (Norris Point)
- Calder Health Centre (Burgeo)
- Deer Lake Medical Clinic
- Rufus Guinchard Health Centre (Port Saunders)
- Western Memorial Clinic on Herald Avenue in Corner Brook