Flooding damages Fort McMurray emergency department, patients temporarily relocated

Heavy rain on Saturday caused flooding in a Fort McMurray hospital's emergency department, forcing it to temporarily relocate until Sunday afternoon, Alberta Health Services said.

The emergency department moved back into its space by 3:30 p.m. Sunday

The emergency department, kitchen, some offices and the ceiling outside of the operating rooms in the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre were damaged by flooding Saturday. (Google Street View)

Heavy rain on Saturday caused flooding in a Fort McMurray hospital's emergency department, forcing it to temporarily relocate until Sunday afternoon, Alberta Health Services said. 

The Northern Lights Regional Health Centre continued to offer emergency medical services, but was doing so in the ambulatory care area, AHS said in a tweet on Saturday.

Fort McMurray saw about 55 millimetres of rain Saturday, with five to 10 more millimetres of precipitation forecast for Sunday, according to Environment Canada.

AHS spokesperson Heather Kipling said the flooding at the health centre, located at 7 Hospital Street, started at about 1 p.m.

"Staff responded quickly to relocate patients and critical equipment to the Ambulatory Care area to continue providing care for patients," Kipling said in an emailed statement to CBC News.

"Investigation into the exact locations of water leakage is ongoing, however we can confirm that rainwater from the storm water system did back up into the emergency department, causing the flooding."

Inches of flood water were removed and floor drying began Saturday. Detailed cleaning was completed Sunday and the emergency department moved back into its space by about 3:30 p.m., Kipling said.

The water also damaged the health centre's kitchen and some offices, along with the ceiling in the hallway outside of the operating rooms. The operating rooms were not affected, however.

"The kitchen was able to remain operational, and cleaning is underway in the office spaces," Kipling said. "The ceiling in the OR hallway has been cordoned off for repairs."

Kipling said a damage estimate is not yet available.