NORWOOD, Mass. — Workers at Norwood Hospital went running for safety as floodwaters tore down doors in the basement of the building Sunday and around 80 patients were evacuated.
“It was something like a movie, it was like we were running away from water when it burst open all the doors in the basement,” said Michael Ware, who works in food services for Norwood Hospital. “Kitchen appliances, everything in the basement is currently floating. Even if it’s heavy, it doesn’t matter, it’s floating. A fridge, a vending machine, the wall broke.”
Ware said he ran to save his car from the parking lot, which looked more like a pond from the downpours after a severe thunderstorm tore through the area for hours.
The clean-up continued Monday morning as crews pumped water out of the hospital’s basement.
“The flooding was significant,” said Salvatore Perla, president of Norwood Hospital. “It came through multiple areas, but we were able to get through all of this with zero injuries.”
Perla said 20 ICU patients were transferred to other hospitals around 7:30 p.m. Sunday. Later in the night, an additional 60 to 70 patients had to be evacuated due to a power outage.
Norwood Hospital said in a statement early Monday that flooding from heavy rain caused an electrical issue that led to the additional evacuations.
“I don’t think we can assume that a facility can take on 8 feet of water and think that there’s a fail-safe,” Perla said.
Fire crews worked all night to secure the hospital and help bring in crews from several other towns for assistance.
“We initially had an ambulance task force, we’ve called in a second ambulance task force to make sure we have enough ambulances to move any patients that need to go to other facilities,” said Norwood Fire Chief George Morrice.
As of Monday morning, the emergency room was still closed, and patients in need of urgent care were being brought to nearby hospitals in Attleboro and Needham.
Part of the hospital complex did not lose power, and hospital leaders said some patients remain in the Draper Building.
Police were also busy responding to stranded drivers stuck in floodwaters across Norwood Sunday night, with power outages at main intersections from Route 1 at Dean Street to Washington Street.
“The flooding was so severe that two manhole covers were lifted out of place and surfed down the twisted Washington Street and landed further down south Norwood,” said Norwood Police Chief William Brooks.
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