Crews respond to fires inside and outside SW Ocala hospital on Sunday; suspect in custody
Ocala Fire Rescue (OFR), Marion County Fire Rescue (MCFR) and the Ocala Police Department (OPD) responded Sunday evening, April 23, 2023, to reports of structure fires inside and outside a hospital in southwest Ocala. [Photo courtesy Ocala Fire Rescue]
Ocala Fire Rescue (OFR), Marion County Fire Rescue (MCFR) and the Ocala Police Department (OPD) responded Sunday evening to reports of structure fires inside and outside a hospital in southwest Ocala.
OFR and MCFR teams quickly extinguished the fires and OPD officers apprehended a suspect.
According to a news release from OFR, they received reports at approximately 7:08 p.m. April 23 of a structure fire at HCA Florida’s West Marion Hospital at 4600 SW 46th Court. Engines 1, 4 and 6; Rescue 4; Tower 1; Battalion Chief 11; and a safety officer were dispatched to the scene.
As units were on their way, reports of a second fire came in. Command upgraded the emergency response to include OFR’s Engine 5 and MCFR’s CC 1, Medic 50, ALS 1 and Battalion Chief 5, the release stated.
Fires were identified in a fifth-floor coffee station, the first-floor men’s restroom and the first-floor women’s restroom. Using extinguishers, crews contained the flames to the area of origin at each site.
As crews extinguished the fires inside the hospital, two outside fires were reported in the hospital’s vicinity, one behind a local college campus and the other behind a home.
Engines 1 and 5 were relocated to battle the outside fires. Engine 1 used the front bumper line to battle the flames behind Rasmussen University at 4755 SW 46th Court while Engine 5 joined Engines 3 and 7, Rescue 1 and Battalion Chief 22 to assist MCFR’s Division 1 and Engine 20 in containing the fire spreading toward a home in the 4500 block of Southwest 46th Street, the release noted.
Once the outside fires were extinguished, Engines 1 and 5 resumed their roles at the hospital scene, assisting with ventilation and gas monitoring, according to the release.
No injuries were reported.
OPD announced on Monday that Daniel Holmes, 32, was arrested and charged with two counts of arson of a hospital, arson of a dwelling, arson of a wooded area and battery on emergency medical personnel. Holmes was identified through descriptions by witnesses and hospital surveillance video, the news release stated.
A spokesperson for HCA on Monday would not answer questions about whether the fire alarms worked or how they found the fires. The person would only say they were continuing to receive and treat new patients.
According to OFR Public Information Officer Ashley R. López on Monday, “An alarm monitoring company alerted dispatch, triggering the initial response. The alert was followed by callers reporting a fire to 911. Audible alarms were active when units arrived on the scene.”
Rasmussen College reported no fires impacting their campus.
The cause of the fires remains under investigation.