Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Worker Critically Injured in Animal Hospital Blast

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Worker Critically Injured in Animal Hospital Blast

Article excerpt

PARAMUS -- An MRI machine exploded during maintenance at the Oradell Animal Hospital late Friday morning, critically injuring one repairman but sparing scores of employees and animals in the hospital, Police Chief Kenneth Ehrenberg said.

The critically injured repairman suffered cuts and crushing- related injuries; two other contract workers had minor to moderate injuries, including respiratory complaints, the police chief said. He said their identities were being withheld pending family notification.

As of midevening, Ehrenberg said, there was no condition update on the critically injured man.

The explosion caused a small leak of helium, which cools the inside of the machine and can be dangerous in a closed area. The area was subsequently ventilated and made safe, Ehrenberg said.

Responding to reports at 11:51 a.m. of a fire and an explosion at the animal hospital at 580 Winters Ave., police found the ceiling of the east wing had collapsed, but the building remained structurally sound, the police chief said. There was no evidence of a fire, he said.

About 60 animals and 100 employees were in the building, Ehrenberg said, and the staff subsequently accounted for all animals and employees. They were moved to several contingent sites in the county, he said.

The three injured men were from a private company not affiliated with the hospital. Two were taken to Hackensack University Medical Center, and one was taken to The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood

They had been in the process of removing the 10-year-old MRI machine when the explosion happened, said John DeVries, the assistant director of the hospital. The MRI machine, which the hospital leased from Advanced Veterinary Technologies, was having software problems, and the hospital was to get a new one in three weeks, he said.

The explosion sounded like something fell on the roof, said DeVries, who was at the other end of the building when it happened. "It just vibrated the whole building," he said. …

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