Saturday, November 18, 2017 Elyria 51°


Cleveland Clinic cancels tomorrow's surgeries at Lorain center following fire


LORAIN — The Cleveland Clinic has called off today and tomorrow's surgeries at a Lorain facility following a small fire there this morning.

The Fire Department was called to the Cleveland Clinic Lorain Family Health and Surgery Center about 5 a.m. after receiving an alarm. Employees in the surgery center also noticed an odor of smoke.

Firefighters eventually determined the source of the fire was a "dorm-size" refrigerator in a utilities room. According to Assistant Chief Randy Hupp, the fire "totally consumed" the refrigerator, wall and duct work.

Firefighters were able to put the fire out with an extinguisher, but they remained on scene for a time to make sure the fire hadn't spread through the facility's walls.

Hupp said there was minimal damage but an odor of smoke throughout the building.

"The damage doesn’t impede operations in any way," he said. "Whether the odor causes a problem" is up to the hospital to decide.

The Cleveland Clinic decided to cancel surgeries for today due to that odor of smoke in the building, according to spokeswoman Heather Phillips, and patients were contacted early this morning. She said the Clinic conducted a thorough cleaning today but decided "to take the extra step" of changing out all of the hospital's HEPA filters and wait another day to resume procedures. She said patients scheduled for surgery tomorrow are being contacted now to reschedule.

Hupp said the source of a fire is believed to be the refrigerator and the fire was presumed to be accidental, but the Lorain Fire Department Fire Prevention Bureau was called in to investigate nonetheless. The Lorain Health Department has also been called to the scene.

Hupp wasn't optimistic a cause could be determined.

The refrigerator was "totally consumed," he said. "I doubt if we’ll be able to tell anything from it. It's a metal shell."

Hupp estimated damage at $10,000 to the building and $1,000 to its contents.

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