Altru Health Clinic Evacuated for Structural Issues

Emergency workers re-locate 100 patients and staff after a large crack is found on a wall

Altru Health Clinic was evacuated after officials found a structural problem with the building.

Engineers say a 16 inch beam has failed in the Altru Main Clinic.  The Cancer Center on the north side of the building and the hospital on the south side are not affected.

“Some staff in the lower level of the main clinic noticed some issues with their ceiling and heard a little it of a noise,” said Dwight Thompson, who is the CFO of Altru Health Systems. “At about 2:00 Thursday afternoon, they made the call to evacuate.”

Officials say thanks to the help of the Grand Forks Fire Department, they had more than 100 patients and more than 100 staff members removed from the building in under 15 minutes.

They say none of the patients were suffering from any serious injury at the time.

Appointments at the Main Clinic are being rescheduled.

“There were some delays for some of the patients until they could set up elsewhere,” added Thompson. “We will take care of them, but it just may be at another location.”

“They’re prepared to work through the night to continue to stabilize the building,” said Kellee Fisk, who is the Chief People Officer of Altru.

Engineers from the area are looking for ways to fix the beam while also preventing future problems with the building.

“We have the fire department, construction engineers and other experts helping us to determine a temporary stabilization of the building,” added Fisk, “and then they’re gonna further assess how to permanently repair the building.”

Altru staff do not know how long repairs will take nor do they have a damage estimate.  They say they’ll have a better idea of when the clinic reopens when the engineers finish their assessment.  Altru officials say the building was built in the 1970’s and has had many renovations and additions.

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