Firefighters work on the roof of the Franklin Health
Medical Arts Center in Farmington early Saturday morning. State Fire Marshal investigators say the fire was accidental
and started in the attic, near the chimney, but it will take a couple
more weeks of work before the cause is determined.

<< What: 779-2163 — medical hotline number to check on scheduled appointments this week
Where: at Franklin Health Medical Arts Center in Farmington

FARMINGTON — Seven State Fire Marshal investigators continued their work Monday to find the cause of an early morning fire Saturday at Franklin Health Medical Arts Center, located behind and connected to Franklin Memorial Hospital.

The fire was accidental and started in the attic of the building, near the chimney, but the exact cause will take a couple more weeks of additional interviews and inspections, according to a State Fire
Marshal’s Office statement released Monday.

While initial estimates of damage sustained in the
center opened in 2008 were $1 million plus, hospital officials raised that amount after firemen left the scene and allowed them in the building to survey the damage.

“The estimated amount nears $6 to $9 million but it will take a couple weeks to nail down,” said Jerry Cayer, Franklin Community Health Network executive vice president. “It depends on actual damage restoration, repair and replacement. The entire roof structure will be replaced on the east wing and I don’t have those figures yet.”

While hospital administrators have worked since Saturday afternoon to provide patient services to the five affected practices housed in the medical center, the east wing will remain closed for this week while an intense cleaning process is undertaken. 

The infrastructure, electricity, heat and elevators are being checked to ensure they pass inspection before the wing is reopened next week, he said.

The west wing which received the most damage, Cayer estimates, will take six to nine months to reopen. With the structural roof damage, hospital administrators have had limited time within the wing to assess damage but are currently working on plans to move the surgical and pediatric practices during the months needed to repair the wing.

Monday went fairly well with patients as well as 22 medical providers and 117 additional staff affected by the closing of the building adjusting to temporary placement.

“It’s been a measured chaos. People know where to go but everyone is working outside their element,” he said.

The medical practices as well as mammography services were relocated Monday and patients can check on scheduled appointments by calling, 779-2163.

Patients with appointments this week need to report to temporary locations for registration with orthopaedic patients going to cardiopulmonary on the first floor of the hospital and pediatric patients going to the Wilton Family Practice. The mammography department has been temporarily moved to the FMH Outpatient Services in Livermore Falls.
Surgery, urology and women’s care patients need to report to the registration desk on the second floor of the hospital.

Ten teams of hospital administrators and others worked through the weekend to prepare for patients to be seen Monday dealing with issues such as relocating services, cleanup, security and planning for repair.

Patient medical records, those in paper form, are mostly stored within the west wing and are secure, he said. Because of the roof integrity, access to records in the east wing has been limited, he said. Firefighters did cover as much as they could with plastic sheeting Saturday. There is a process that can restore records from smoke infiltration.

Computerized records are stored on a server outside the building and are safe, he said.

Providing patient coverage, restoring service in the west wing and finding alternate sites for practices for three-quarters of the year for the surgical and pediatric services are most critical right now, he said.

As for the ordeal, “it’s not tragic, Haiti is tragic. It’s inconvenient and a challenge but we have work to do and we’ll move on,” he said.

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Firefighters work on the roof of the Franklin Health
Medical Arts Center in Farmington early Saturday morning. State Fire Marshal investigators say the fire was accidental
and started in the attic, near the chimney, but it will take a couple
more weeks of work before the cause is determined.

Firefighters work on the fire at Franklin Health Medical Arts Center in Farmington early Saturday morning. State Fire Marshal investigators say the fire was accidental and started in the attic, near the chimney, but it will take a couple more weeks of work before the cause is determined.


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