Quake causes hospital leak

KELSEY FLETCHER
Last updated 12:00 23/01/2014

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Palmerston North Hospital officials are reassuring the public the site is safe after Monday's earthquake caused water to leak down the walls.

Patients had to be moved because of the sprinkler leak but the MidCentral District Health Board says there was no major structural damage to any hospital buildings from the 6.2 magnitude jolt.

The quake struck just before 4pm and was centred 15 kilometres east of Eketahuna at a depth of 33km.

Halcombe resident Alison Duran was staying as a patient in Ward 29 on the top floor of Palmerston North Hospital's north block.

"That place just shook, it was violent and horrible," she said. "I didn't quite know what to think but the shaking was so violent, I didn't think it was ever going to stop."

Ms Duran said once the building had stopped shaking, water began leaking through the ceiling in her fifth floor room, and down the walls.

"They took all four of us out of the room - the nurses and doctors there were awesome, no-one panicked," she said.

"We were the only room on the ward that had to be moved out but I know the water went into their supply cupboard too, because we were right next to the nurses' station."

Ms Duran said the water gushed out of the ceiling for about half an hour before repair people were able to stem the flow.

"It wasn't so much scary, it was just ‘OK, why is there water coming out of the ceiling?"' she said. "But I never ever want to be on the top floor again, we were shuddering [during the quake].

"I felt aftershock after aftershock up there," she said. "And there was an earthquake last week in Whanganui - I actually felt that one up there too."

MidCentral District Health Board spokesman Jason Keall said Monday's earthquake did not cause any major structural damage to any hospital buildings.

He said four patients were moved temporarily to another room within the ward.

"Several windows have sustained cracks and are progressively being fixed," he said. "There was a minor fire sprinkler leak which leaked through one ward block, stopping at the first floor, and has since been contained and repaired without causing any substantial damage."

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- Manawatu Standard

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