Two maintenance workers injured after steam pipe burst at Victoria General Hospital

Two maintenance workers injured after steam pipe burst at Victoria General Hospital
Photo courtesy Devon
A steam pipe burst at the Victoria General Hospital on Dec. 30, 2022.

Two maintenance workers were injured after a steam pipe burst outside of the boiler room at the Victoria General Hospital.

Paul Hurst, View Royal’s fire chief, says the call was received about alarms going off at the hospital at 8:34 a.m.

Twenty-six firefighters from View Royal, Colwood, Langford and Esquimalt attended.

“A [four-to-six-inch] diameter steam pipe had ruptured outside the boiler room, so in the main hallway section on the first floor, so there was a worker working on the pipe and the pipe let go,” Hurst said. “This pipe was so big, when it let go like there was zero visibility in the hallways, there was that much steam. The temperatures were around 130 to 140 degrees, and zero visibility in that area from the steam so the steam is venting into the hallway.”

The two workers were transported to the Royal Jubilee Hospital’s burn unit.

The maintenance worker who was working on the steam pipe at the hospital has burns on about 50 per cent of his body, the other has burns on his face, neck and hands, according to Hurst.

Fire crews were able to get into the ceiling to turn off the valve for the burst pipe, and he says there is significant flooding on the first floor.

While the hospital is still up and running, Hurst says the first floor has the diagnostic and treatment centres, and it was evacuated during the incident.

“That’s sort of the heart and brain of the hospital, that section of the building,” Hurst said. “So that’s where all your pharmacy, your kitchen area, your sort of industrial works, your boiler room, basically the heart of the hospital is in that section. So not a lot of workers in that section but that section of the hospital was cleared out.”

In a statement, Island Health says there was a temporary ambulance diversion during the incident, but that has since ended.

“No patients were injured or affected. Patient care is not affected,” the statement says. ” The mechanical emergency caused flooding in a non-patient care area. Plans are underway to remediate and repair…The Victoria General Hospital emergency department remains open and able to provide emergency care.”

WorkSafeBC also attended the scene since workers were injured.

“At approximately 9:15am this morning, WorkSafeBC was notified of a workplace incident in Victoria,” Yesenia Dhott, media relations officer for WorkSafeBC said in a statement to CHEK News. “A WorkSafeBC prevention officer has been assigned to the incident. We do not have any other information to share at the moment.”

The BC Emergency Health Services says three ambulances and a supervisor responded to the incident at Victoria General Hospital at 8:48 a.m. today. Two patients were cared for and transported to hospital by paramedics.

Cpl. Alex Bérubé, spokesperson for the BC RCMP, tells CHEK News police were called to respond to an industrial incident, which is standard whether or not there is believed to be criminality involved.

Hurst says there is no criminality suspected in this incident.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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