PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A lightning strike is believed to have caused a major power outage at a Pasco County hospital on Wednesday night.
Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson remained closed to patients on Thursday, following an overnight evacuation caused by the fire. The blaze knocked out power to the hospital. Power was restored early Thursday. 209 patients, including 12 who are critically ill patients, were evacuated and taken to other hospitals.
On Thursday morning, hospital officials said that a lightning strike is believed to have hit a main power feed on the hospital’s roof around 6:15 p.m Wednesday. The strike also disabled the ability to operate the hospital’s generator. All power was lost at the hospital and one generator was destroyed. The lightning strike also created a small fire that was quickly extinguished.
Rescue crews and law enforcement from five counties — Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, Sumter and Polk counties — responded, along with the City of Clearwater, to assist in the mass evacuation, which took until 1 a.m. Thursday.
Critically ill patients were evacuated first. Those patients were on ventilators in the Intensive Care Unit. Each patient was accompanied by a physician or nurse. According to RMC.
Bayonet Point, about four dozen patients were taken to Oak Hill Hospital in Brooksville. The others were transported to regional facilities.
The hospital said that more than 70 EMS ambulances, 10 engine companies, three ambulance buses, two task forces, ten sheriff’s units and the Pasco County Emergency Command all helped with the evacuations.
No injuries occurred during the incident or transporting of patients.
Surgeries scheduled for Thursday have been rescheduled, and all patients have been notified.
The hospital established a number for families to call for information on loved ones: (877) 344-1313, option 9. The hotline will be staffed throughout the weekend. Patients will be discharged through their receiving facility until the hospital can be reopened for patients.
An employee hotline has been established at (727) 819-2911.