Fire forces patient moves at veterans home

Posted March 24, 2010, at 11:13 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — A battery malfunction was cited as the cause of a small fire that prompted a temporary evacuation Wednesday night at the Maine Veterans Home on Hogan Road.

Though no one was injured, the incident did require staff to temporarily move 20 patients in the B Wing to the A Wing to allow for ventilation and cleanup, Bangor Assistant Fire Chief Rick Cheverie said.

“Everything turned out all right,” he said.

Cheverie said the fire was reported at 7:43 p.m. and the first firefighters to respond, who work out of Station 5 just down Hogan Road from the veterans home, were on the scene within two minutes.

The fire was snuffed out three minutes later by nursing home staff who used a dry chemical extinguisher, he said.

According to Cheverie, the fire began after a prong connected to the battery that operates the patient lift system bent and came in contact with another prong, resulting in a short that caused the battery to overheat and ultimately melt.

The decision to relocate B Wing patients was based on the combination of acrid smoke from the burned battery, which caused some patients to cough, and the need to clean up the yellow powder from the fire extinguisher, Cheverie said.

He said a total of 14 Bangor firefighters turned went to the fire and remained at the home for about an hour.

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