Water Main Break Causes Moving Of Patients At BJC

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MIDTOWN, ST. LOUIS, MO. (KPLR) - St. Louis City activated its Emergency Operations Command Center July 4th to handle the loss of electric power to a portion of Barnes Hospital.  City Operations Director Sam Dotson said it was important to coordinate efforts quickly since Barnes functions as a regional trauma center.

A break in a 12 inch water main in front of the Queeny Tower building sent a muddy river of water across South Kingshighway and eventually into a sub basement of the tower beginning at 10AM.  Once the water flooded electric panels in the basement and backup generators went down, 104 patients had to be moved to other areas of the hospital.  Part of the tower houses doctors' offices which were closed for the holiday.  

The St. Louis City Water Department workers along with firefighters, police and MODOT staff were involved in the response.  Highway message boards informed drivers the Kingshighway entrance to the hospital was closed.  Ambulances navigated the flooded street northbound, but other northbound traffic was diverted.  At times the water was more than a foot deep on Kingshighway.

BJC spokesman Jason Merrill said firefighters executed a "vertical response" operation to move patients up and down stairs since the elevators were not working.

Patients were moved to pre and post operation rooms in other sections of the hospital.  Merrill said some elective surgeries may be re-scheduled Thursday as a consequence.

Power should be restored by Thursday afternoon and the water main repairs completed by late Friday.

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