Breaking: Vehicle fire shuts down RUH parkade

Just before 12 p.m. on March 13, a vehicle started on fire in the Royal University Hospital parkade.

Morgan Hackl, assistant chief at the Saskatoon Fire Department, said a vehicle was driving on the third level of the parkade when smoke started billowing out of the engine. The driver left the vehicle — which soon after started on fire — and called 911.

According to Hackl, the fire caused about $90,000 in damage to the structure’s electrical wiring. A second vehicle parked nearby was also damaged.

The Saskatoon Fire Department gave the all clear around 1 p.m. once the situation was resolved.

RUH itself remained open for the duration of the incident. However, the parkade was immediately evacuated after the driver of the vehicle called 911.

“We simply couldn’t allow people into the parkade area until the situation was safe,” said Linda Walker, a media relations officer for the Saskatoon Health Region.

While the parkade was closed, officers from University of Saskatchewan Protective Services and members of the Saskatoon Fire Department were redirecting traffic to the hospital and instructing vehicles to park a long the laneway leading to RUH’s emergency room.

Walker said that ensuring that traffic exited the structure in an orderly fashion was an additional challenge, once it was safe to return to the parkade. Walker praised RUH patrons for their patience and credited U of S Protective Services for their assistance in dealing with the outflow of traffic.

“We want to give a big thanks to Protective Services,” Walker said. “They provided a tremendous amount of assistance to us.”