[Updated] At just before 11pm this evening [July 12] the Bermuda Fire & Rescue Service arrived at King Edward Memorial Hospital, with four fire trucks, two support fire vehicles and what appeared to be over a dozen firefighters.
The situation is not fire related, with unofficial reports indicating the firefighters were called in due to some form of a spill, with at least four firefighters seen wearing hazmat suits.
Click bottom thumbnails to view photos:
What appeared to be members of the hospital management arrived close to midnight, and at that point hospital security came over saying that management had requested the media leave the property.
From our subsequent positioning off the property, we noted two firefighters don hazmat suits at around 1.15am, with two more firefighters joining them in protective gear twenty minutes later.
The hazmat-suit wearing personnel disappeared down in the bottom/back area of KEMH, and were seen rinsing off with water after coming out, with a temporary outside ‘shower’ having been put in place in advance.
A few staff members leaving the hospital, speaking unofficially and off-record, indicated to Bernews that to their knowledge the patients and staff are all fine. We will update with additional information as able.
Update 2.30am: A Works & Engineering truck and van showed up appearing to be carrying some form of containers, and the firefighters are now out of the hazmat suits and are packing them away.
Update 2.50am: Approximately four firefighters put on breathing apparatus and went into the back/bottom area of KEMH carrying brooms.
Update 5.12am: All fire personnel left the area at around 5am.
Update 6.30am: A Fire Service spokesperson confirmed they had responded to a spill of a “caustic substance” at the rear of the hospital, and had eight vehicles and 15 firefighters on scene.
Audio of a BFRS Lieutenant explaining the situation:
The substance flowed some 100 feet in area, and sand was used to mitigate the spill. The clean-up was a joint effort between firefighters, W&E and KEMH. There were no injuries, and the incident has been declared under control.
A BHB spokesperson confirmed they experienced a spill of sodium hydroxide overnight, and that services inside the hospital were not impacted and no injuries were reported.