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One patient found dead in North Carolina hospital fire

November 06, 2012|By Matt Pearce

A patient is dead after an early morning fire at the Durham Regional Hospital in Durham, N.C., on Tuesday.

Durham firefighters responded to a 2:19 a.m. report of an explosion on the sixth floor of the hospital that turned out to be a small fire, Durham Fire Department Interim Chief Dan Curia told the Los Angeles Times.

Sprinklers had already controlled the one-room fire when firefighters arrived minutes later. The patient in the room as found dead, Curia said.

The patient had been critically ill and was under the care of Select Specialty Hospital. Select Specialty is a separately licensed long-term care facility that leases space from the Durham Regional Hospital, which is part of the Duke University Health System, Durham hospital officials said. A spokesman for Select Specialty Hospital did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The patient's identity has not been released, and the hospital said the cause and time of the death would be determined by a medical examiner.

Two Select Specialty Hospital employees and one Duke employee were taken to the hospital's emergency room for examination and were released, hospital officials said.

Most of the fire's damage appeared to be limited to water damage from the sprinklers, Curia said. In addition to damage to space leased by Select Specialty Hospital, the Durham Regional Hospital building sustained water damage to three patient treatment rooms and had to move 20 patients to other parts of the hospital, Durham hospital spokeswoman Kellie Peacock told The Times.

The Durham Fire Department was investigating the cause of the fire.

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