MACHIAS, Maine — As of Tuesday afternoon, Machias police were continuing to search for the driver of a vehicle that struck a utility pole Monday evening, triggering a power surge that sparked an electrical fire at Down East Community Hospital in Machias.
The surge, at approximately 9:30 p.m. Monday, filled the radiology wing of the 25-bed hospital with smoke, but none of the patients needed to be evacuated, Machias Fire Chief Joey Dennison said early Tuesday morning. Firefighters were on the scene for about three hours, he said.
Machias police said the driver of the vehicle that struck the Court Street utility pole just north of West Street fled the scene. Based on evidence inside the vehicle, police believe the driver was injured in the accident. The incident remains under investigation.
Hospital spokesperson Julie Hixson said Tuesday morning that no patients were affected by the fire and that the hospital was relying on its backup generators. The radiology department, she said, was using portable technology while electricians worked Tuesday to restore power to the in-house equipment.