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Smoke prompts evacuation at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston

GALVESTON, Texas – Reports of smoke prompted an evacuation Wednesday at John Sealy Hospital in Galveston.

The incident was reported about 1:45 p.m. at the Market Street hospital, which is part of University of Texas Medical Branch Health.

According to a spokeswoman for UTMB, said there is not an active fire at the facility, and people are being evacuated from both the hospital and its annex as a precaution after smoke traveled to the ninth floor, forcing the entire building to be evacuated. 

Galveston County Health District EMS reported it was involved in the transfer of 19 patients from the hospital. Six patients were transferred to the emergency department of John Sealy, and 12 mothers and their babies who were staying in the NICU were taken to the emergency department at Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Officials confirmed that a total of 225 people were evacuated from the buildings. About 100 of those were patients.

The Galveston fire chief said it took an hour to clear the building.  

"The biggest challenge is making sure you keep tabs on who all came out of the facility, what their conditions are, so that you maintain that  of patient care," Emergency Medical Service Director Nathan Jung said.

No injuries were reported.

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