The possibility of arson is not excluded in an investigation by the Matjhabeng Fire Brigade and local police after a fire broke out in an operating theater at the Virginia District Hospital over the weekend. Acting Chief Fire Officer of the Matjhabeng Fire Brigade, Francois Klaassen, says the investigation is expected to continue today. This comes after an explosive sound from an operating theater was heard which was followed by smoke and flames on Saturday at around 19:00. Spokesperson of the Free State Health Department, Mondli Mvambi, says hospital management evacuated patients in the vicinity. The fire brigade was alerted. Mvambi says the incident affected 18 male patients. No injuries were reported by patients or staff members. According to Klaassen, the preliminary investigation suggested the possibility of arson.
He says a flammable liquid or substance was used to set some of the doors in the operating theater alight. The fire was contained only to one area in the theater. No further damage to the hospital was done. The area was sealed off and further investigations will be conducted today.
Mvambi says the department awaits the final police report. According to him, the extent of the damage has not been determined yet. The operating theater will not be in use until a clean-up operation is completed. – Christal-Lize Muller