A 2007 electrical fire at VCU Medical Center caused a power outage and shut down operating rooms. Now the hospital has filed a $1.4 million lawsuit against the electricians who were replacing high-voltage equipment the day of the fire.
In a lawsuit filed in Richmond Circuit Court this month, the hospital charges that workers from Schneider Electric caused "an electrical explosion, arcing and fire" on Oct. 17, 2007, when they were repairing a circuit breaker in the hospital's equipment room.
In addition to damaging the hospital's electrical equipment, the mishap left the hospital without electricity, according to the suit, which charges that the fire cost the medical center $1.4 million in expenses and lost income "due to the inability to use the operating rooms and other facilities."
The hospital says in the suit that the fire was a result of negligence by Schneider's employees who failed to reinstall the circuit breaker properly or "otherwise acted in such a manner as to create an unstable and dangerous electrical connection."
Officials at Schneider — the France-based company was doing business in Virginia as Square D Co. — nor VCU Medical Center immediately responded to requests for comment. It isn't clear whether the workers or any of the hospital's patients were injured as a result of the fire.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined Schneider $500 in connection with the incident. According to the agency's records, Schneider was cited Oct. 25, 2007, for a serious breach of federal safety regulations that require the employee use of personal protective equipment.