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Cleanup gets underway Thursday morning at Nichols Building. 

The Mid Columbia Medical Center building was damaged by what Hood River Fire Chief Leonard Damian described as “a small fire” with extensive water damage to the three-story commercial building, early on May 15.

The office of Overwatch Imaging and the Kobe Sushi + Bar were also damaged. The building is located on Nichols Parkway on the waterfront just east of Second Street near downtown Hood River.

The fire was extinguished by a sprinkler system that prevented any further fire damage, according to Damian.

“Most importantly, nobody was hurt and all patient files are secure,” said Christina McManigal, chief ambulatory operations officer at MCMC. “We are currently assessing the damage, but we do know that the Nichols Landing building will remain closed for restoration. It is too soon to know if the closure will last a few weeks or several months.”

All MCMC clinics and the hospital in The Dalles are open. MCMC’s Hood River-based providers have been seeing patients in The Dalles throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to do so while the Nichols Landing building is restored.

At 2:15 a.m., Hood River Fire & EMS crews responded to a water flow alarm at the MCMC building, in the 30 block of Nichols Parkway in Hood River.

“We were dispatched to a water flow alarm, a fire alarm that tells us possibly that a sprinkler system may be activated,” said Lt. Tony DePinto, who was first on the scene.

DePinto said that when HRFD firefighters arrived, they found the fire alarm system had activated along with smoke and a small fire on the third floor inside the building.  Fortunately, two sprinkler heads had extinguished the fire before it had extended any further.  Firefighters shut off the water flow, searched the building, determined the extent of damage, and ventilated the building to clear the smoke. Fire crews were able to remove smoke from the building and covered computers on the first and second floors to prevent any further damage from the water. MCMC medical scanning equipment was also protected from damage, according to Damian.

Hood River Fire & EMS was assisted by units from West Side Fire District, Wy’East Fire District, and Cascade Locks Fire Department.

The cause of the fire is presently under investigation.

“The fire sprinkler system activation prevented the building and its contents from significant damage and contained the fire as designed. Because of the small size of the fire, crews were able to concentrate on removing smoke and water from the building and protecting sensitive equipment from water damage, further reducing the damage from this fire.  Had the building not been equipped with fire sprinklers, the fire would’ve easily grown in size, causing major damage to the building and its contents,” Damian stated.

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