Woodhull Hospital temporarily closed, evacuates patients and staff due to damage caused by flooding

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Saturday, September 30, 2023
Woodhull Hospital evacuates patients and staff due to damage caused by flooding
A hospital in Brooklyn was forced to evacuate Saturday after Friday's torrential downpour led to power outage and electrical damage. Johny Fernandez has the details.

BROOKLYN (WABC) -- A hospital in Brooklyn was forced to evacuate Saturday after Friday's torrential downpour led to a power outage and electrical damage.

On Friday, the hospital was forced to switch to a backup emergency power around midday to ensure patient and staff safety. In a statement, the hospital said it was informed by Con Edison that the facility would need to temporarily shut down the backup power in order to make the required repairs to the voltage feeder line that caused the outage.

Mayor Adams held an update after Woodhull Hospital was evacuated due to flash flooding damage.

It is estimated that the repairs could take a minimum of several days before the hospital can resume operations.

Approximately 120 patients were transferred to other NYC Health + Hospitals facilities Saturday morning. Patients were transferred by ambulances, ambulettes, FDNY transport vehicles and New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) transport vehicles.

Out of an abundance of caution, critical patients were transferred Friday.

"They're still going to get the need and care. I want to emphasize that there's not going to be disruption in the care. Yes, there's an inconvenience, but if you're from the community, you have to go to another hospital. But there's not going to be a disruption in care," Mayor Adams said.

Additionally, hospital officials have notified nearby hospitals of the evacuation and closure, to manage any increase in patient volume.

"We are confident that our expert team of emergency managers, patient care professionals, and city government partners will be able to safely transfer and protect our patients," said NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull CEO Gregory J. Calliste. "And we're grateful to our partners at Con Edison for completing these repairs as swiftly as possible."

The hospital will be closed and on diversion for all ambulances. In an emergency, New Yorkers should call 911 and ambulatory patients should seek out nearby hospitals.

The news comes after Brooklyn became the epicenter of Friday's rainstorm with streets and subways flooded under more than a half-foot of rain.

"It is serious. This is a dangerous life-threatening storm," New York Governor Kathy Hochul said.

During a press conference during the storm, Mayor Adams advised it was a time of "heightened alertness."

Mayor Eric Adams joins Eyewitness News to discuss how New York City is handling the citywide flooding on Friday.

"This is a dangerous weather condition and it is not over," he said. "We can possibly see eight inches of rain before the day is over."

Streets were quickly inundated as the rising rainfall left several cars submerged.

Roger Lee documented the situation in Park Slope from his balcony.

"Cars floating around, boats on wheels," Lee said. "It was insane."

The insanity spread to the buildings below the basements and ground floors became flooded.

There's even a barrier at the entrance of Dean Russo's building because flooding happens so frequently on Carroll Street.

This time, the site across the street that's being remediated for ground contamination also flooded.

"The water fills up behind the wall on their site," Dean said. "There was a lot of brown sludge - oil and gas or whatever it is."

He said that's worrisome, and for the owners of the cars that got knocked around and flooded, it's exasperating.

"Battery dead, cup holder filled with water sludge in seats. Anyone looking for a used car?" Jamie Tan said.

Johny Fernandez reports from Gowanus, Brooklyn, where flash flooding has impacted the area.

Vehicles were stranded and towed across parts of Gowanus, Coney Island, Flatbush, Windsor Terrace, and Williamsburg among others.

RELATED: State of Emergency declared in New York City

The same was also the case for major roadways, such as the Belt Parkway, Prospect Park Expressway and Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, where cars were stuck in near river-like conditions.

Friday's heavy rain brought floodwaters into many buildings, including this apartment building in Williamsburg.

On a street in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, workers were up to their knees in water as they tried to unclog a storm drain while cardboard and other debris floated by. The city said that it checked and cleared key drains, especially near subway stations, ahead of the storm. But that was little comfort to Osman Gutierrez, who was trying to pry soaked bags of trash and scraps of food from a drain near the synagogue where he works.

"The city has to do more to clean the streets," he said. "It's filthy."

As the rain briefly slowed, residents emerged from their homes to survey the damage and begin draining the water that had reached the top of many basement doors. Some people arranged milk crates and wooden boards to cross the flooded sidewalks, with water close to waist-deep in the middle of some streets.

High school student Malachi Clark stared at a flooded intersection, unsure how to proceed as he tried to get home to Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. He had tried to take a bus, then a train.

"When it stops the buses, you know it's bad," he said. Bus service was severely disrupted citywide, according to the the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

A Brooklyn school was evacuated because its boiler was smoking, possibly because water had gotten into it, Schools Chancellor David Banks said at the news briefing.

The problem was a smoking boiler due to flooding in the school's basement.

The students were moved to another school.

Mayor Adams addressed and backed up Chancellor David Banks on his decision to keep schools open.

"And as you see, the decision was the right decision. We do not have any issues, dangerous issues at our schools, our children are in the schools. They're properly being educated. And I believe the chancellor made the right call," he said.

Jessie Lawrence said she awoke to the sound of rain dripping from the ceiling of her fourth-floor apartment in Brooklyn 's Crown Heights neighborhood. She set out a bowl to catch the drips, but she could hear strange sounds coming from outside her door.

"I opened my front door, and the water was coming in thicker and louder," pouring into the hallway and flowing down the stairs, she said. The heavy rainfall had pooled atop the roof and was leaking through a skylight above the stairwell.

Friday's heavy rain has led to flooding in the basments of several buidlings including this one in Midwood, Brooklyn.


Some information from the Associated Press

RELATED: Rainfall totals around NYC, Tri-State


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