Los Angeles County officials ordered Tuesday the retesting of an Olive View Medical Center fire protection system that previous tests showed was not operating properly--a snag that has indefinitely delayed the opening of the $120-million county hospital.
Hospital officials had planned to open the facility this Saturday, but problems arose when tests indicated that the building's sophisticated air-exhaust system, designed to blow smoke out of the building in case of a fire, was not expelling enough air.
This meant that the building could not pass Los Angeles City Fire Department safety inspections required for occupancy, said Douglas Bagley, hospital administrator.
"We are on hold right now," Bagley said. "We are not setting another date until this matter is resolved."
The county's Olive View Mid-Valley Hospital in Van Nuys will continue to operate until the 350-bed Olive View in Sylmar is opened. Mid-Valley has treated patients too poor to go to private hospitals since the original Olive View was destroyed in the Feb. 9, 1971, earthquake, just a month after it had opened.