After the fire, Memorial Medical Center assesses the damage

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Wednesday night every available Lufkin Fire unit was at Memorial to make sure the fire on the seventh floor was quickly contained.

It caused some very tense moments for patients, staff and visitors. No one was more nervous than the family of mother-to-be Samantha Knight.

"We were concerned. The lights flickered and the generators came on," said Knight's Aunt Missy Amoe.

We've been able to confirm that the fire was contained to the seventh floor of the hospital. No injuries were reported and quick thinking staff members were able to secure patients in their rooms.

The East Texas News congratulates Samantha Knight who gave birth to a healthy baby boy.  He was born weighing in at 8 pounds 5 ounces. For now, he's called Baby Knight, they're still deciding on a name.

The hospital said the elevators are required to undergo a yearly inspection. The specific elevator where the fire broke out had been inspected back in March. However, the hospital said that they inspect the elevators every day as part of their daily maintenance rounds, and the day the fire broke out was no exception.

"Very quickly they smelled smoke and it was verified that we had an actual event of some type in progress," said City of Lufkin Assistant Fire Chief Duane Freeman.

"Everything was back to normal about 4 or 4:30 this morning. The fire was contained pretty early right after the Fire Department arrived," said Marketing Director for Memorial Health System of East Texas Yana Ogletree.

Thursday, the smoke had cleared and it was time to assess the damage.

"If you look at it, it's very minimal, however, when you're talking about the motor of an elevator, you're talking about a very costly expense," Ogletree said.

Electrical engineers are at the hospital trying to repair what the fire destroyed.

"One elevator is working, the one behind me is being repaired right now," said Ogletree.

She said the hospital staff and the fire department came to the rescue.

Ogletree said, "The staff performed beautifully to make sure all of the doors were shut, put wet towels up under the doors of patients rooms so smoke would not go into those rooms."

No patients or staff were evacuated, but the fire did make things difficult.

"Smoke was a problem throughout the hospital when the elevator motor caught fire, the smoke came through the elevator shaft and then dispersed throughout the hospital," Ogletree said.

However, smoke is better than a blaze.

"The problem could've been a lot worse. It could have been devastating," said Ogletree.

"Any facility of this nature has potential, large number of patients, it always has a potential to be disastrous," Freeman said.

They said it could've been a lot worse.

"We're very blessed that the fire department acted in full force. We had every person from the fire department on call here," Ogletree said.

"That's why we're here, that's why we exist, but still when the call comes and you have a quick response and things work well, it does make you very proud of your department," said Freeman.

The Hudson Volunteer Fire Department stood in for the City of Lufkin while every available Lufkin unit responded to the Memorial fire.