Fire and rescue units from Norway, Paris, Oxford, PACE, West Paris, Harrison and Bridgton were called to Stephens Memorial Hospital Friday after smoke was detected in the building. Nine ambulance services were called in to transport patients to other medical facilities. Fire departments from Greenwood, Woodstock and Poland provided coverage for several departments that were dispatched to the scene. Nicole Carter / Advertiser Democrat

NORWAY — Fire and rescue teams from 10 communities responded when smoke was detected at Stephens Memorial Hospital on Friday afternoon.

According to a post early Saturday morning on Norway Fire Department’s Facebook page, the first alarm activated around 2:15 p.m.

The building was evacuated, including 21 patients who were transported to Maine Medical Center in Portland, Memorial Hospital in North Conway, NH, Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, Market Square Health Care Center in South Paris and Norway Rehabilitation Center.

Ambulances from SMH’s PACE, Oxford Rescue, Med-Care, United Ambulance, Bethel Rescue, Stoneham Rescue, Buckfield Rescue, Turner Rescue and Fryeburg Rescue were called in to relocate patients to the other facilities.

Fire crews used ladder trucks to access the roof of Stephens Memorial Hospital after smoke was detected in the building Saturday afternoon.

Crews were onsite until the Fire Marshall’s Office completed its investigation and granted clearance for care team members to reenter the building at about 9 p.m. The emergency department was reopened around 10:30 p.m., including lab and imaging support departments. Due to smoke damage, all other hospital services remained closed.

On Monday, Public Information Officer for the Maine Department of Public Safety Shannon Moss told the Sun Journal that preliminary results of the fire marshal’s investigation showed a short circuit in wiring related to recent construction was believed to be the source of the smoke. SMH’s spokesperson said the hospital cannot comment until they receive the final report.

By 5 p.m. on Saturday the Special Care Unit was able to reopen. SMH spokesperson Abbie Sewell said in a statement on Monday that outpatient services would resume that day; she anticipated that the East Wing of the hospital, where one of its surgical units is located, would also be opened by by then.

“The Family Birthplace is still under repair,” Sewell wrote. “We expect to know more on the re-opening status early this week.

“The North Wing of our Medical/Surgical Unit is still under repair. The timeline for re-opening is still being assessed and we will to know more information later in the week.”

No Western Maine Health physician practices or outpatient rehabilitation services were affected and remain fully operational.

NFD posted its thanks to hospital staff for bringing fire crews sandwiches and to Norway’s Second Congregational Church for providing snacks and water.

During the hospital evacuation and response, Paris Fire Chief Mark Blaquiere, Harrison’s fire department and a Maine Forest Service ranger handled a three-vehicle accident on Lake Road in Norway and then returned to the scene at SMH.

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