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Surgeries Halted After Fire Causes Outage at VA Hospital

A fire breaks out at a generator building adjacent to the Veterans Administration hospital Sunday afternoon, causing administrators to reschedule surgeries Monday and Tuesday.

Correction: The headline incorrectly stated that a massive generator caught fire, when in fact it was several pieces of large, high-voltage equipment that were set aflame.

The Veterans Administration hospital in West Los Angeles was forced to run off of backup generators Sunday afternoon after an electrical fire broke out in an adjacent building causing an outage, VA spokesperson Wileen Hernandez told Patch. 

Though the hospital was running off of VA campus facility generators on Monday, all surgeries, elective procedures, and diagnostic appointments at the hospital were canceled through Tuesday and could be postponed as far out as Aug. 20 while Southern California Edison works to install a redundant backup generator, according to the VA. 

The engineers are also "evaluating the structure for soundness ... which is part of the restoration," SCE spokesperson Paul Klein said.

The cause of the fire, which destroyed all of the large pieces of high-voltage equipment in the building, is still under investigation. The cost associated with the damage has not yet been assessed, said Klein.

Fifty-five Los Angeles firefighters were on the scene shortly after receiving the call at 1:37 p.m. and successfully put out the fire without injury, said LAFD spokesperson Erik Scott.

—City News Service contributed to this report.

Paul Herbert August 13, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Really need more accurate reporting. The fire was not in the generator building but in an adjacent power distribution building. The facility is now being powered by the generators in the generator buildings and will be until the distribution system is repaired.
Jared Morgan August 13, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Paul, CNS wrote an initial report based on information provided by LAFD at the time. I was planning on following up this afternoon. Thanks for the update.
Marilyn Noyes August 14, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Could anyone explain how Southern Cal Edison is involved at the VA when power all around Los Angeles is supplied by DWP?
vanessa anaya August 16, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I was in building when this happened. My father is very sick... Lights did turn off about 1 minute and elevators and AC stopped working for hours. Stair cases where the means of getting around. Patients where brought to hallways and being prepared for evacuation but never needed it. To clarify for Paul and on Jareds behalf, the maintenance crew and hospital staff where telling everyone who asked it was a generator building fire. The VA is still using as little as possible power and only 3 elevators are working as of yesterday the 15th.
Jared Morgan August 16, 2012 at 05:29 PM
To clarify, I just learned that parts of the VA fall under county, others under the city.
Jared Morgan August 16, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Vanenssa, thanks for the info. Did any of this affect your father? I hope not.
vanessa anaya August 16, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Only the bit if a fright and very hot room! The IV's and monitors stopped working for a few minutes, but nurses said the monitor where their station is was still working and they could observe from there. IV's took only about 10 minutes to get back working again. we had to give my dad ice bags and fan him for hours because of AC being off. On Monday it was vey hot in room as well, the AC would come on and off periodically.... I am just glad he is no longer on life support because that would have really been scary. Thank you for asking.

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