Patient with possible meth burns caused Pineville Hospital ER to close

By: Angela Sparkman Email
By: Angela Sparkman Email

PINEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - The Pineville Community Hospital Emergency Room was closed for several hours on Tuesday. Officials say a patient with burns from a possible meth lab explosion caused officials to shut down the ER and decontaminate it.

Hospital officials say around 8:00 a.m., a man came in with severe burns that appeared to be from a meth lab explosion.

"We did not know beforehand. It was actually received as an ATV accident and then the details came to light," said Joshua Collett, Safety Officer at Pineville Community Hospital.

"That caused the whole ER to be exposed and had to be shut down," said Ben Barnett, Bell County Emergency Management Director.

Bell County Emergency Management officials say they could smell the fumes when they arrived.

"It's a major concern. Meth labs have so many dangerous chemicals. You can't take that stuff lightly," Barnett said.

Hospital officials say employees did a practice drill on a similar situation in September, so they knew exactly how to respond when this happened.

Hospital workers closed the emergency room and nearby radiology department immediately. All employees and patients in the ER were quarantined.

Officials say they had to decontaminate all of the ER employees and patients and then decontaminate the emergency room.

"It's more fumes and residue, so we're very confident it's been contained in our ER and everyone that's exposed is being treated accordingly," Collett said.

The ER re-opened around two c'clock. Emergency management officials say it is safe.

Hospital officials say no one has shown any health problems since the incident.

Barnett says the man with burns was transferred to a burn facility and later died. Authorities have not released his name yet.

The Bell County Sheriff's Department is investigating the fire and possible meth lab at the man's home in Arjay.

While the Pineville Emergency Room was closed, all ambulances and patients were directed to Middlesboro ARH or the Knox County Hospital. Barnett says no problems were reported.

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