Man crashes car into Middlesex Hospital before setting himself on fire

Firefighters on the scene after a car crashed into Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, February 22, 2018 (WTNH / George Roelofsen)

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH)– A man is in critical condition after crashing his car into Middlesex Hospital in Middletown and then setting himself on fire on Thursday morning.

Police, fire crews, the FBI, the State Fire Marshall, ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection were called to the scene at Middlesex Hospital at 28 Crescent Street, where a man crashed his Chevy into the emergency room entrance of the building, just before 10 a.m. According to witnesses on scene, the driver then set himself on fire.

Related: Stunned community reacts after Middlesex Hospital attacked

Late Thursday afternoon. officials identified the driver as 27-year-old Steven Ellam.

steven ellam Man crashes car into Middlesex Hospital before setting himself on fire
Steven Ellam (Middletown Police)

Police say it does not appear that Ellam made it into the hospital’s lobby, only getting as far as the sliding doors right before the seating area.

Ellam was taken by Life Star helicopter to the Bridgeport Hospital burn unit where he is in critical condition. Middletown Mayor Dan Drew says a security guard also suffered injuries due to smoke inhalation but is expected to be okay.

Web Extra: Listen to the initial report from Middlesex County Fire and EMS
(Audio courtesy of Broadcastify)

According to Mayor Drew, multiple gas cans were later found inside of Ellam’s vehicle.

2 22 18 suspect home middletown Man crashes car into Middlesex Hospital before setting himself on fire
Police are at the home of Steven Ellam late Thursday afternoon. Ellam allegedly drove into Middlesex Hospital and set himself on fire earlier that day. (Photo: Tim Clune/WTNH)

Police are also searching Ellam’s home and as a precautionary measure, have evacuated nearby homes. The Middlesex Hospital’s emergency room and nearby buildings were also evacuated out of precaution.

David Giuffrida, Vice President of Operations at Middlesex Hospital, says that there were 30 patients and 20 staff members in the Emergency Department at the time of the incident and that they were evacuated to other areas of the hospital where they are safe.

Giuffrida added that there was no significant damage to the building besides where the crash took place.

Giuffrida says that there were no threats that they were aware of made to the hospital leading up to the incident.

Mayor Drew says they believe this an isolated incident and that there is no threat to the community. However, he says that police are securing other public facilities in Middletown, including schools, out of an abundance of caution.

Middletown has also activated their Emergency Operations Center as this investigation unfolds.

Middlesex Hospital reopened emergency care to walk-in patients. The Hospital opened a temporary Emergency Department in its outpatient surgical services area. It is still not receiving patients via ambulance, however, and the Hospital’s normal ER is closed until further notice.

Drew says Ellam’s motives are unknown at this time. The incident remains under investigation.

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