Eufaula hospital phone lines down during explosion

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Updated: 5/08/2013 8:42 am Published: 5/08/2013 12:35 am

Eufaula’s only hospital, Epic Medical Center did not have an indoor phone service when a propane tank exploded nearby. 

Two people were injured from the explosion inside Ford’s Sandblasting plant.  They were in too severe of a condition to be transported to Epic Medical Center.  They were life-flighted to a Tulsa hospital burn center to be treated. 

The Epic Medical Center’s power went out on Monday night around 8:00 and while the power came back on the AT&T phone system did not come back on until 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday.  The explosion happened around noon. 

During the hospital’s power-outage on Monday night the staff contacted city leaders and emergency management to alert them by calling the staff’s personal cell phones to reach them if they had an emergency.  That is how the hospital stayed in contact with emergency crews during the explosion. 

“I was really on my cell phone every five minutes making sure everyone was ok and that we ready to take in any causalities, but luckily no one needed to come here,” said Shari Stinnett, Epic Medical Center’s Assistant Chief Nursing Officer. 

Stinnett told FOX23 News that AT&T told them they might have to pay a higher monthly fee to become a priority on its list of businesses to fix problems with faster. 

“In my 12 years, on and off, since working here I have never run into this problem before with the local phone company,” said Stinnett.

Epic Medical Center’s Chief Operating Officer is investigating the “priority concern” with AT&T. 

During the power outage the hospital backup generators did come on as they are supposed to and no patients were inside the hospital when it happened. 

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