Portsmouth Fire Department Chief Deputy Chris Lowery termed as ongoing an investigation into what some might call a unique incident just before noon Sunday in the E wing of the main building of the Southern Ohio Medical Center.
According to Lowery, an unidentified patient in a room at the hospital somehow managed to catch himself and his bed on fire. On Monday, Lowery noted the actual cause of the fire was not yet determined but also stated the fire was deliberate.
The patient received burns on over 10 percent of his body, Lowery said. A nurse who tried to help the patient also received minor burns.
Although some social media reports had the fire blowing out the windows of the patient’s room, Lowery said firefighters broke out the windows to allow smoke to escape the hospital. Once they extinguished the fire, firefighters tossed debris from the room out the broken window rather than carry it through the rest of the building.
An SOMC spokesperson did not return a voicemail request for comment on the incident. Lowery said the fire happened about 11:46 a.m. He added SOMC fire doors operated appropriately and hospital personnel evacuated nearby rooms as needed. He indicated firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze but did not offer any estimate of damage done to the room.
At least as of Monday, even though Lowery said the fire was deliberate, there were no reports of the patient facing criminal charges. Police referred questions to the fire department.
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