Fire Kills 19 at Hospital in Costa Rica

Ξ July 12th, 2005 | → 1 Comments | ∇ Costa Rica |

ML and I were awakened early this AM with the news that there was a huge fire burning at Hospital Calderón Guardia, the hospital where she has worked for 30 years.

We flipped on the TV to see flames engulfing the whole area near where she works. Fire torn through the top three floors of the northeast corner of the hospital So far, 19 people have died. One of the dead was a nurse and a friend of Maria’s. Oddly, there is one body still unidentified.

Nearly all were patients who died were trapped on the fifth floor. Incredibly, all but one hospital in Costa Rica is equipped with smoke detectors and only one has emergency exits! This to me is simply astounishing.. I mean a smoke detector costs about $10 and certainly would have provided an early warning.

Firemen and Cruz Roja (red cross) from all over the Valley converged on the hospital just after 2 a.m. Patents hung from the windows, ledges and from the supporting columns of the hospital structure. Several climbed to the street on ladders. One guy escaped by knotting together bedsheets and lowering himself from the fourth floor.

ML’s office was completely destroyed allong with 30 years of records, books and family memorabilia. She is heartbroken as these records simply cannot be replaced.

Calderón Guardia is one of the largest hospitals in Costa Rica. This is so sad.



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