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Hospital staff keep patients safe in Dowagiac fire

DOWAGIAC, Mich.-- Any time a fire breaks out close to a hospital, the one major concern is keeping the patients safe. The staff at Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital in Dowagiac say they take precautions that helped them save lives when a fire broke out next door Thursday evening.

Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital is connected to its physical therapy center by a breezeway. Because the doors are always kept shut, the fire did not spread from one building to the other.

The hospital staff there is well-prepared for these types of situations, and they say they were able to keep all of their patients safe.

"Our hospital personnel inside the hospital responded immediately the way that they're trained to do. We drill for this kind of thing, so everybody did what they're supposed to do," Borgess-Lee Memorial Hospital Chief Operating Officer John Ryder said.

Most of the patients are located in a part of the hospital that was not close to the physical therapy center, but some of the staff who have offices near the building that caught fire were asked to leave as soon as the fire alarm sounded.

"Right now, we're just mainly focused on continuity issues for the services that were in that building," Ryder said.

Hospital personnel met Thursday night to figure out a plan for the appointments that were scheduled for the future in that physical therapy center and they say they will be working to contact staff and patients to let them know what will happen next.

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