Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Parent recalls fear, lauds staff's actions

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PERCY SWAIN was filled with fear when the smell of smoke filled the floor in Children's Hospital where he was staying with his infant son.

Swain has been staying for the past month with four-month-old Percival, who is suffering from the flu and bronchitis and is fed through a feeding tube. Tuesday night's fire was scary for Swain but he was impressed by the hospital workers.

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"I know there was a lot of pressure for the staff, but I think they handled it very well," he said. "It was good."

Percival was staying in CH5, which is in the northeast corner of the hospital, when he heard the fire alarm.

"They calmly told us to get our babies ready in case we get evacuated. That was the first warning," said Swain. "Then they announced (we were being evacuated) over the intercom."

Swain and other families were directed out the Sherbrook Street exit.

"Everyone was calm," said Swain. "No one was panicked."

After a brief stay outside, Swain, his son and other patients were brought to the adjacent General Hospital. Outside, Swain saw the flames and was shocked.

"A fire at a hospital," Swain said. "I couldn't believe it."

Swain and Percival were able to return to their room at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, though Swain could still smell a little smoke in the air.

"I'm happy everything worked out and the hospital didn't burn down," said Swain.

It was a night Swain said he'll never forget. "It was very scary for me," said Swain. "And (Percival) slept right through it!"

steph.crosier@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 7, 2013 A6

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