Florida Hospital in Wesley Chapel temporarily without air conditioning after unit blows out

Posted at 7:12 PM, Sep 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-20 23:13:18-04

A scare at the Florida Hospital in Wesley Chapel prompted evacuation preparations Tuesday.

According to Pasco County Fire Rescue Chief Shawn Whitehead, a fire alarm went off around 5:30 in the evening with about 120 patients inside at the time.

Whitehead says there was a small explosion in the hospitals industrial air conditioning unit or chiller. The explosion shut down air-conditioning throughout the entire hospital. 

Original reports also stated the power was out as well but that was not true.

Pasco County EOC, fire rescue, the sheriffs department, and county government officials all responded in case evacuations were needed.

After about two hours, the air conditioning did come back on and hospital officials gave the all clear.

"The air conditioning was out for at least two hours, so it got warm in there, a lot of people walking around real sweaty and stuff," said Chief Shawn Whitehead. "But it seems to be up and running right now everything is cooling off in there, everything seems to be back to normal, the hospital told us all their systems are up and running and they have no issues at this time,"

Officials say they did divert incoming patients for about two hours. One ER patient was transferred to a different hospital upon arrival.

The AC unit where the explosion happened is in the rear of the building, crews are still working to find out exactly what happened. 

Florida Hospital officials say the facility has resumed normal operations.

Florida Hospital gave the following statement: 

At Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, our number one priority is the safety of our patients. Our hospital is fully functioning and caring for patients. Earlier tonight a chilled water pump failed and over pressurized,
causing a small mechanical failure in the central energy plant. The plant is located behind the hospital. We worked very closely with Pasco County Fire Rescue and Emergency Services. Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel never lost power and did not need to go on generators. The hospital did lose air conditioning for about two hours.

***Please note: early on our CT scan was down, where we thought we might have to transfer a few patients--- however at 8:40pm it went back on so we did NOT have to transfer any patients****