NORWAY — A short circuit in wiring related to recent construction is believed to be the source of smoke that forced Stephens Memorial Hospital to be temporarily evacuated Friday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Office of the State Fire Marshal said Monday.

The results of the investigation are preliminary, spokesperson Shannon Moss said. The Fire Marshal’s Office completed its investigation and deemed the building safe to reenter about 9 p.m. Friday.

“There was no active fire,” but there was serious smoke damage, hospital spokesperson Abbie Graiver said in a statement released Monday.

It is not clear what construction Moss was referring to, and she and Graiver did not respond to follow-up questions about the source of the fire.

The hospital’s emergency department was reopened with lab and imaging support about an hour and a half after the state investigators cleared the scene. All other hospital services were closed for the remainder of the weekend with outpatient services resumed Monday morning.

Physician practices were unaffected.


The hospital wrote on its Facebook page Sunday evening that all patients with appointments at Western Maine Pediatrics, Western Maine OB/GYN, Western Maine Surgery, Western Maine Primary Care, Stephens Center for Specialty Care, Stephens Physical Rehabilitation or for laboratory, imaging, infusion, cardiopulmonary and COVID-19 testing services should plan on arriving as scheduled.

All inpatient hospital services remain closed.

“Construction crews, partnering with our engineering team and Service Master have been working around the clock to bring the impacted units back in service,” Graiver said.

The Family Birthplace — the hospital’s labor and delivery unit — and sections of the surgical unit remain under repair and more information on their reopening is expected later this week.

The Norway Fire Department responded to an activated fire alarm at the hospital on lower Main Street about 2:15 p.m. Friday. Shortly after their arrival, calls were made to area fire and rescue crews for assistance in removing patients.

A second alarm sounded about 3:30 p.m.


All 21 patients were out by 7:30 p.m., Graiver said.

The hospital is 25-bed critical access facility.

Eleven of the patients were transferred to other facilities, including Maine Medical Center in Portland, Memorial Hospital in North Conway, New Hampshire, Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, Market Square Health Care Center in Paris and Norway Rehabilitation Center.

The other 10 patients were discharged.

The Norway Fire Department posted an update on its Facebook page early Saturday.

“The hospital was evacuated and a first alarm structure fire was struck,” according to the post. “This pulled Norway, Paris, Oxford, PACE, Norway PD, Maine Fire Marshals Service, and West Paris fire in. Moments later command upgraded the call with Harrison and Bridgton to the scene. Greenwood, and Woodstock provided station coverage for Norway and Paris. Oxford was being covered by Poland.

“With the hospital being evacuated,” the post continues, “ambulances from PACE, Oxford Rescue, Med-Care, United Ambulance, Bethel Rescue, Stoneham Rescue, Buckfield Rescue, Turner Rescue, and Fryeburg Rescue were brought to the scene to help transport patients to other hospitals. The issue was found in the hospital and dealt with.”

When contacted Monday, a Norway Fire Department member declined to give further details. Chief Dennis Yates did not respond to an email Monday afternoon.

Sun Journal staff writer Mark LaFlamme contributed to this report.

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