Operating room fire cause still unknown


WATERBURY, Conn. (AP) -The cause of a fire that burned a Waterbury man while he was on an operating table remains unknown.

Jose Adorno Sr., 60, checked into Waterbury Hospital on Nov. 29 for a routine outpatient procedure on his nose. He woke up days later with burns from his chin to his nose, and inside his mouth.

A new report from the city’s fire marshal’s office shows the cause of the fire is unclear because the hospital cleaned the room and removed evidence before an investigation could be conducted, the Waterbury Republican-American reported in its Sunday editions.

The fire inspector could not immediately gain access to the operating room because Adorno’s surgery was still taking place.

“When you clean up the room, essentially, you are destroying any way for discovery,” said Chet Bennett, the acting fire marshal, told the newspaper. Neither the point of origin nor the cause of the fire has been determined.

Adorno, a father of six and grandfather of 10, was supposed to have a 90-minute procedure. But he wound up staying in the hospital for four days, put on a respirator and unconscious for at least three of those days.

Today, Adorno has a patch of pale skin on his upper lip and difficulty swallowing cold water because of the burns.

“I want to know what went wrong,” said Jacqueline Perez, the Adorno’s daughter. “To this day, not one person from the hospital has called to see how he is doing.”

Hospital officials did not return calls to the newspaper.

On the day of the incident, hospital officials said a piece of equipment malfunctioned and caused a flash fire. The fire was extinguished by the time the firefighters arrived on the scene.

Information from: The Waterbury Republican American

AP-ES-01-01-07 0130EST