A fire on the roof of Ochsner Lafayette General Hospital led to an evacuation of its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) late Wednesday afternoon. Responding to a 911 call made at 3:59 p.m., Lafayette firefighters arrived at the hospital located at 1214 Coolidge Street to address the emergency. The NICU staff had noticed a light haze of smoke and acted promptly, ensuring the safety of the infants by relocating them to another unit.

The source of the smoke was quickly identified by the firefighters as coming from the ceiling space of the NICU, with a small section of the roof found to be on fire. The blaze was extinguished within minutes of their arrival, and ventilation fans were set up to clear the smoke, minimizing any potential risk to the health of patients and staff.

The fire was determined to have started accidentally during a roof repair operation. A heating torch used by the roofing company ignited combustible materials, leading to the incident. The hospital has taken steps to review safety protocols to prevent such occurrences in the future.

Ochsner Lafayette General Hospital is currently coordinating with the families of the NICU patients to provide updates and support. Patricia Thompson, a representative for the hospital, is available for any inquiries regarding the NICU or other concerns related to the hospital.

Hats off to these first responders and hospital staff members for swift response and quick thinking in this scary incident.

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Gallery Credit: KATELYN LEBOFF

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