Tzaneen mentally ill patient nearly sets hospital on fire

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A mentally ill patient admitted to Letaba Hospital, at Nkowankowa near Tzaneen, almost set the hospital on fire by climbing into the ceiling and causing electrical cables to trip and spark. Health-e News reports that although no serious damage was caused, patients had to be evacuated to safety while firefighters extinguished the blaze.

Patients said they were huddled outside while the fire department and hospital staff worked together a smoke emerged from the after smoke started pouring out the ceiling. “It was like a scene from the movie when we were all rushed outside to escape the fire. We first noticed the smoke coming out from the ceiling that’s when the nurses and the firefighters came to extinguish it. The evacuation process was smoothly done,” said a patient. The fire was stopped very fast before it could do major damage thanks to the emergency team, police, nurses and the doctors, who acted fast to stop the fire. They used fire extinguishers, buckets and hosepipes.”

However, the Limpopo Department of Health spokesperson Derick Kganyago said there had not been an actual fire at the hospital, only a lot of smouldering and smoke that was quickly dealt with by the emergency services.

“There was no fire at the hospital, only the smoke which was caused when the mentally disturbed patient managed to get inside the ceiling and caused the electric wires to spark and smoke. We managed to apprehend the man and send him to the psychiatric ward,” said Kganyago, adding that it was not known how the man got into the ceiling.

The report says this is not the first time a fire incident has been reported at the hospital. In 2014 about 45 patients had to be evacuated after the psychiatric ward caught fire, and on that occasion, they had to be transferred to three hospitals in Tzaneen.

Health-e News report

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