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Fire at Jamaica Plain VA Medical Center damages MRI equipment

Fire at Boston VA knocks MRI machine out of service
Fire at Boston VA knocks MRI machine out of service 02:39

BOSTON – No one was hurt during fire at the Jamaica Plain VA Medical Center in Jamaica Plain on Monday, but damage will be impacting the facility for the foreseeable future.

It happened around 10 a.m. at the facility on South Huntington Ave.

The fire started outside the MRI suite and extended to that wing of the hospital. Welding work was being done at the time, but the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

"When they investigated that further, they discovered that there was a pretty extensive fire underneath the MRI," Deputy Fire Chief Martin McCormack said.

McCormack said if hospital workers were not able to shut off the equipment so quickly, it could have been a dangerous situation, as MRI machines can act as magnets, turning any object into a projectile.

"For firefighters and patients it's a very dangerous machine to be around," he said. "Especially for firefighters, it can take tools out of their hands and put it right into the machine. So we have to be very careful around that."

Adding to the morning's frenzy, veterans Benjamin Aubrin and Donald Souza said they didn't hear fire alarms

"We just walked downstairs, and the whole place was filled with smoke. That's all I can say. There was no notification," Souza said.

The VA said the alarms went off campus wide.

Despite the fire being quickly extinguished, damage was done in the area.  

MRI services at the Jamaica Plain hospital will be limited until potential damage to the equipment has been evaluated and the suite is returned to service. 

A spokesperson said the hospital has determined that a research MRI will be able to be used for some of the scheduled appointments. Between that machine and the diagnostic imagery unit in West Roxbury, the hospital believes it will be able to honor the majority of currently scheduled appointments. 

It is not clear how many patients will be impacted, but the spokesperson said "only a handful" will likely need to be rescheduled. 

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