On Monday, the Maine Medical Center was hit by a medical bag explosion that destroyed the emergency room, medical bag storage, and a portion of the clinic’s main medical building.
The explosion occurred just before 6 a.m. local time in the basement of the Maine Hospital and Clinics (MHCC) on the city’s north side.
According to the Portland Press Herald, emergency personnel had been working at the facility since Monday morning.
A hospital spokesman told the newspaper the fire department had been dispatched to the facility to investigate the cause of the explosion.
Maine Health Commissioner Robert L. Johnson said the explosion was “an extremely dangerous situation.”
“It is extremely tragic and a reminder of how quickly things can get out of control,” Johnson said in a statement.
“We are working closely with local authorities and other state agencies to find out what caused this tragic accident.”
According to a news release from the Portland Fire Bureau, the explosion caused damage to both the MHCC building and an adjacent storage facility.
“It’s not clear what caused the explosion, but investigators have found a large medical bag in the facility’s storage area,” the release read.
“At this time, we don’t know if the explosion occurred in the building or on the street.”
Officials have not released any information about the cause or how many people were in the MH CC at the time of the incident.
In the wake of the tragedy, a crowd gathered outside the facility on Monday morning to demand answers about the incident and to pay tribute to those killed.
Fire officials also issued a statement on the tragedy saying, “We’re trying to gather as much information as we can about the explosion and the injuries that were sustained.
We’re also hoping to reach out to the community for more information.
We want to hear from everyone in the community, whether they live here or not, whether there was an explosion at the MHMC or not.”
According in a news report from local news station KGW, the bomb squad responded to the scene after the explosion but were unable to find any evidence of a bomb.
KGW reporter Alex Evers says the explosion destroyed a large section of the building, including a section of a hospital elevator.
At the time, the hospital said it had no reports of injuries, but that its facility was still closed.
Officials also said there was no indication that any other buildings or staff members were in danger.
“We have to take a deep breath because we’re a little bit behind schedule,” Johnson told reporters at the scene.
“There is a lot of concern right now.
We’ve got to get our heads around it.”
Johnson said the health department is working with the Portland Police Bureau to gather more information on the incident before they can provide any information.
As of Tuesday morning, officials had not released the names of the people killed or injured.