Paramus explosion leaves 3 hurt, 1 critically, prompts evacuation of animal hospital

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Friday, March 6, 2015
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Anthony Johnson has the latest from Paramus.

PARAMUS (WABC) -- An animal hospital in New Jersey was evacuated and three people were injured, one critically, when an explosion caused a ceiling to collapse Friday morning.

The incident happened just before noon at the main branch of the Oradell Animal Hospital on Winters Avenue in Paramus.

It appears an MRI machine caught fire and then exploded. An electrician who was dismantling the machine was the most seriously hurt, suffering lacerations and crushing-related injuries.

He was rushed to Hackensack University Medical Center for treatment.

The other two victims had minor to moderate injuries, including respiratory complaints. One was transported Hackensack Medical Center, while the other went to Valley Hospital in Ridgewood. Several other employees were medically checked at the scene and released.

There was also a small leak of helium, which is used as a cooling agent inside the machine, that prompted the Bergen County HazMat Unit to respond and assist Paramus firefighters in controlling and dissipating the leak.

The incident occurred in the east wing of the facility, while most of the staff and animals where located in the west side of the building.

There were reportedly 60 animals, mostly dogs, inside at the time. No animals or other employees were injured. The Paramus Office of Emergency Management assisted the animal hospital staff in relocating employees and animals to several contingent sites located in the county.