MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH)–Middlesex Hospital staff is being credited with saving lives after 27-year-old Steven Ellam drove his car through the waiting room doors of the emergency room, then set himself and the car on fire.
Jim Hite, Director of Protective Services and Security, says that without the quick response by staff and first responders, this could have been much worse.
Hite says he has trained his colleagues here at the hospital for emergency situations, but you can never truly prepare to have car drive they the waiting room door and light on fire.
He ran straight into the smoke filled emergency room within a minute of the crash occurring, and says emergency room staff were already in full response mode, moving the roughly 30 patients away from danger and out the back of the building.
It didn’t take long to realize those in the emergency waiting room were not the only ones at risk.
“The smoke detectors were going off for the Critical Care Unit, which is just above where the car hit the building,” Hite said. “So we immediately went up there. The Fire Department was already there and the staff as well. We’re talking about people on ventilators, a lot of medical equipment. It went very smoothly, they got everyone out in a very short period of time.”
Hite also credits the Middletown Fire Department and police departments for their quick repose.