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November 21, 2012

Surrey hospital flooded

Construction work related to the expansion of the Surrey Memorial Hospital may be the cause of a ruptured watermain that flooded one of the largest emergency rooms in B.C.

“At this moment, there is an expansion project occurring at the hospital and construction is happening outside of the emergency department,” said Tasleem Juma, spokesperson for the Fraser Health Authority.

“But, we are not sure exactly what or who caused the pipe to break and cause the flooding. We are still trying to determine what happened.”

Flooding forced the evacuation of the emergency room at Surrey Memorial Hospital early in the morning on Nov. 19.

A major construction project is currently taking place at Surrey Memorial, which involves work on a new emergency department and a critical care tower.

It has been widely reported in the media that a construction crew operating an excavator damaged a watermain on-site.

One of the largest emergency departments in B.C. was more than ankle deep in water.

Juma said the watermain breach at the site contained some silt, but did not include sewer water.

“We do know that there was a break in the main water line, which caused the emergency room area to flood,” said Juma. “The emergency room will be closed at least until tomorrow and we are in the process of assessing the damage and clean up time. There was a fair amount of water present, so we are doing a geotechnical assessment of the area. Because it was so wet we want to make sure it won’t affect the foundation and the building is safe and secure.”

Fire crews opened a drain to reduce the water level and have been pumping water out of the hospital.

The RCMP closed down roads near the hospital and B.C. Hydro crews were on the scene to mitigate any electrical problems.

“Our focus right now is to make sure our patients are safe and they get the services they need,” said Juma.

“We are working to set up a temporary emergency center at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. The B.C. Ambulance Service is diverting patients to other sites and a regional emergency operations center has been established, which will coordinate services that need to be provided to deal with the situation.”

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