Fire in Patient's Room at St. Bernards Quickly Extinguished

MARCH 7, 2005 - Posted at 4:57 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR - Jonesboro firefighters responded to an alarm at St. Bernards Medical Center shortly after 1 o'clock this afternoon, only to discover upon arrival that a small fire that originated in a patient's room had already been extinguished.

The fire apparently started when a patient using oxygen attempted to light a cigarette.  However, quick response by hospital employees averted a potential deadly situation, according to administrator Chris Barber.  "Although hospital fires are rare, our employees train regularly on correct procedures to follow in the event of such occurences.  We are pleased with the immediate response of our nurses, physicians and entire staff," said Barber.

The fire was contained to one room.  As a standard precaution, other patients on the wing were relocated without incident.  Barber said, "With the exception of patients transferred from the affected wing, others in the hospital were unaware of the incident.  Business continued as usual."

According to a hospital spokesman, the patient in question has been transferred to another medical facility for treatment of burns.  A nurse also sustained minor burns to a hand, but was treated and released.

The incident is under investigation by hospital officials.