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Hospital reconstruction to last into 2018

A rooftop fire on Aug 25 caused extensive damage to the Lakeridge Port Perry hospital. (Photo by Colin Williamson)

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

After an initial inspection of the damage following a rooftop fire at the Port Perry branch of Lakeridge Health, it’s been determined that the hospital will have to remain closed until “at least” the spring/early summer of 2018 in order to repair the damage.

According to a statement released by Lakeridge Health, a large majority of the building’s systems were damaged in the fire on Aug. 25.

“The initial report determined most building systems including the electrical, mechanical and environmental systems were heavily damaged,” the statement reads.

The fire, which took place around 7 p.m., led to the evacuation of 22 patients and all hospital staff, with all patients being sent to other Lakeridge hospitals in the region.

The cause of the blaze has yet to be determined.

Now, Lakeridge says they will be working with health system partners in the region to ensure that surgeries, tests and other procedures continue as planned. Staff from the Port Perry hospital will be moved to the other hospitals to provide support.

“The closure is disappointing to us and the north Durham community who rely on services close to home,” says Matthew Anderson, the president and CEO of Lakeridge Health. “Restoring and reopening our Port Perry hospital is a top priority.”

However, it will be no easy task.

“Due to the complex nature of running a hospital, including supporting operating rooms, medical equipment and medical gases needed to safely support patient care, restoring the site will be a significant undertaking,” the statement reads.

Currently, construction equipment is arriving on site to remove parts of the building that were damaged in the blaze. This will mark the first step toward the building’s restoration.

The site will be reopened once the restoration is complete, and Lakeridge notes that a more definitive re-opening date will become more certain as a more detailed construction plan is developed.

In the meantime, a toll-free number has been set up for north Durham patients (1-833-681-9840) to allow for “streamlined access to important health information related to cancelled or postponed appointments.”