Ice caused power outage, forcing hospital to evacuate patients

Patients had to be moved when the winter storm knocked out power to a Heights hospital
March 4, 2014 10:45:20 AM PST
The icy start to the day led to power outages all across the area, including one hospital where patients had to be evacuated.

Hospital staff were left scrambling after a power outage left them without electricity for about three hours Tuesday morning.

Several ambulances were called to Select Specialty Hospital in the Heights to transport five critically ill patients to a medical center seven miles away. Workers tell Eyewitness News those critically ill patients were on mechanical ventilators when power in the area went out after 5am. A hospital spokesman says staff decided to transport those patients out of an abundance of caution.

Meantime, staff at St. Joseph's Medical Center in the Heights, which shares the same building, tell us they kicked on a backup generator when the power went out and made calls to doctors and patients to cancel some scheduled surgeries.

A few blocks away workers at a McDonalds on Yale were among those in the area who had to shut down businesses for several hours as CenterPoint Energy crews were busy removing ice covered tree limbs which were weighing on power lines.

"No electricity, it makes it hard, but we do our job either way," said McDonalds worker Mary Villanueva.

Some of those inconvenienced by the weather don't believe this will be the last episode.

"We have a saying, February is crazy, but March is a lot more crazier," Villanueva said. "So, we're still due for some more bad weather."

For the most part, we're hearing power has been restored in this area, with hospitals, schools and businesses are going about the normal daily routines.

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