MRI explosion injures worker, causes extensive damage at veterinary hospital

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Oradell Animal Hospital thankful for support in wake of blast.

An MRI unit exploded at Oradell Animal Hospital March 6 while MRI company representatives were dismantling the unit. One worker was critically injured but is expected to survive. All staff, clients and patients were evacuated safely from the scene. All photos courtesy of the Paramus Police Department.When an MRI unit exploded at Oradell Animal Hospital in Paramus, New Jersey, last week, it took the staff less than five minutes to evacuate its patients, clients and team to safety. Three representatives from the MRI company, who were dismantling the unit, were injured-one critically.

Jeremy Hogan, 37, was transported to a local hospital with lacerations and crushing-related injuries to his body. Although still critical, his condition has been updated to stable and he is expected to recover. His two coworkers were also hospitalized but have been released.

Posts on the Oradell Facebook page tell of a grateful staff. Quick and effective execution of emergency protocol got clients, 60 patients and 100 employees to safety-although some staff members risked their own safety to stay with the injured until emergency personnel arrived. "All of our incredible staff members are safe today, many of whom performed heroic acts in the face of disaster yesterday," reads a post a day after the blast. Those staff members were medically checked at the scene and released.

Damage from the blast was extensive but focused near where the MRI unit was located. The building has been deemed structurally sound.The explosion, which happened at approximately 11:51 a.m. March 6 in the east wing of the facility, shook the entire building, causing serious damage where the MRI unit, reportedly leased from Advanced Veterinary Technologies, was located. Although no fire resulted from the explosion, the Paramus Fire Department discovered a small helium leak from the MRI unit. Helium is used as a cooling agent inside the machine. Helium is not combustible but is a dangerous inhalant. The Bergen County Hazardous Materials Unit assisted firefighters in controlling and dissipating the leak. The injured were treated for respiratory complaints.

Despite a focused area of extensive damage, the building was deemed structurally intact and safe by the Hackensack Fire Department Rescue Collapse Unit. However, Oradell Animal Hospital is still without power and water. Patients have been referred to other area hospitals or are being seen at the hospital's two other satellite offices. It may take several more days to restore limited services at the location.

In wake of the MRI explosion March 6, Oradell Animal Hospital patients have been referred to other area hospitals or to Oradell's two satellite locations."Thank you to our referring veterinarians for all of your concern and offerings to help us during this time. Thank you to our clients for all of your kind and compassionate words," Oradell's Facebook page reads. A post also reports that "MRI worker Jeremy is holding his own. Our prayers and thoughts are with him and his family."

The investigation has been turned over to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Oradell Animal Hospital is a designated Veterinary Trauma Center by the American College of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care.

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