Crews respond to Centra fire

Published 7:17 pm Thursday, October 6, 2016

A roof fire above Centra Southside Community Hospital’s (CSCH) generator room brought out more than 30 firefight- ers Thursday evening who put out the fire quickly, but had to spend more than an hour making sure there were no hotspots to flare back up.

The initial call, just before 5:30 p.m. Thursday, indicated the fire was atop the hospital’s boiler room. Farmville Volunteer Fire Department (FVFD) Chief Andrew Goss said the boiler and generator rooms are in the same building, but separated by a wall.

CSCH Director of Marketing Kerry Mossler, who was on the scene, said David

Email newsletter signup

Watts, a member of the hospital’s plant ops team, noticed the fire first and tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher.

Firefighters began arriving not long after.

“They were testing the generator and the muffler atop the building got hot,” Goss said. “The heat caused a mix of the insu- lation, a rubbery tar and other roofing materials to catch fire. The fire ran along the roof to the façade.”

The FVFD and Hampden-Sydney Fire Department (H-SFD) each responded with ladder trucks and engines. Crews also responded from the Pamplin, Prospect and Rice fire departments.

“Our initial attack was inside the building — we’ve been all the way through. There wasn’t much, though, and we knocked that down pretty quick,” Goss said.

More than a dozen fire- fighters, most from the FVFD, cut through the thick roofing material us- ing axes, handsaws and

a chain saw in order to get water inside the roof. Goss said even though the roof fire turned out not to be over the boiler room — which he said would have been much more dangerous — crews

took the fire seriously because it was at CSCH.

“Because of the hos- pital, with hundreds of patients, perhaps thou- sands of people inside, we wanted to make sure the fire didn’t spread or that they lost power,” he said.

Mossler, with Goss later agreeing, said no patients were ever in any danger Thursday.