Fire At Culver Hospital Forces Evacuation

By Lynne Bronstein

Observer Reporter

Fire broke out at Culver City’s Southern California Hospital on January 29, forcing a partial evacuation of the facility.

According to the Culver City Police and Fire Departments the fire began early in the afternoon at the hospital, which was formerly known as the Brotman Medical Center.

Culver City Fire Department Captain Rob Kohlhepp told reporters he believed the fire may have been caused by workers who were burning some roofing material when a small fire started, and smoke was sucked into the air system, infiltrating the hospital’s pavilion building.

Culver City Fire Marshall Mike Bowden confirmed to the Observer that the fire was caused by the roof work:

“The fire at SCH last week was caused by roofers doing repairs on the roof,” said Bowden. “The fire itself was very small (about 4x8') and quickly contained. The problem was that the fire started immediately adjacent to an air handler intake on the roof which sucked in smoke and hot gasses from the fire and distributed it throughout the hospital on multiple floors. It took several hours to clear all of the floors and return the hospital to normal operations.”

"[The fire] was never black smoke. It was white smoke ... but it could have caused an irritant, and that's why we wanted to evacuate all personnel,” Captain Kohlhepp told the reporters.

Nine Culver City Fire Department units were deployed to put out the blaze, as well as six units from Los Angeles County Fire Department, who were called in by CCFD.

The fire required the evacuation about 120 patients and 220 staff members on seven floors. The evacuees were removed to the hospital parking lot and were returned to the hospital floor by floor as the air cleared.

All patients and staff were inside by 6 p.m.

The Culver City Fire Department reported that streets were closed around the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Delmas Terrace (the location of the hospital) but were reopened by 5 p.m.


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