Over 100 patients evacuated as fire hits PGH again

The allotted funding for new medical facilities under the 2023 national budget will cover the construction of 20-story buildings for four specialty hospitals, according to a lawmaker.

Philippine General Hospital

MANILA, Philippines — More than a hundred patients of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) were temporarily evacuated after a portion of it was gutted late on Saturday, just a month after the underfunded government hospital caught fire.

According to the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), the fire started at 11:16 p.m. at a storage room that was being renovated, which was near the emergency department of the hospital.

The fire was put out briefly by 11:36 p.m. No one was reported injured.

READ: Patients evacuated as fire hits UP-PGH

The BFP was still determining the cause of the fire but was looking at electrical issues as the possible culprit.

“The fire was just small, but the smoke from it caused the evacuation of patients and health-care personnel. All the patients were OK, they were transported by the doctors to other areas of the hospital,” said Fire Supt. Leo Andiso, deputy district fire marshal of BFP-Manila.

At least 140 patients were evacuated from the emergency room, but they were able to return after the smoke was cleared out.

“The smoke did not reach the emergency room, but only the hallway outside. We only had the affected rooms to be ventilated to remove the smoke and they could be used again,” he added.

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) sent out 16 heavy-duty fans to different parts of the PGH to ward off the heat and smoke, and alleviate the discomfort of ER patients, according to PRC chair Richard Gordon.

PRC volunteers were also sent to help transport 19 patients to hospitals in other cities; transfer six patients from PGH pavilion to its atrium; and treat two others with oxygenators.

A doctor working at the PGH told the Inquirer that the fire alarm at the ER did not work during the fire.

Asked for comment, Dr. Jose Jonas del Rosario, spokesperson for the PGH, said they were still verifying this.

The brief Saturday night fire happened barely a month after an earlier blaze hit the PGH on the afternoon of March 13, prompting the evacuation of around 180 patients.

The fire originated at the audio-visual room at the back of Ward 1. The BFP did not disclose the cause of the fire, but a statement from its parent agency, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, said it could have been caused by defective electrical wiring.

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos directed BFP National Capital Region regional director Fire Chief Supt. Nahum Tarroza to conduct a “comprehensive electrical system inspection” at the PGH to prevent another fire from happening.