The emergency room at Anaheim Regional Medical Center was evacuated Monday night, March 29, after a man started a fire in a bathroom, authorities said.
Around 10:20 p.m. smoke spread through the ER’s lobby, forcing staffers and waiting patients to leave the building, Anaheim police said.
When officers arrived to the hospital, at 1111 W. La Palma Ave., the suspect was detained by hospital police, said Ted Lopez of the Anaheim Police Department.
Officers took the man into custody while firefighters extinguished the blaze and cleared the emergency-room lobby of smoke, Lopez said.
“The hospital did a great job of getting the patients secured into a new location,” Lopez said.
Stephanie Castillo had been in the waiting room for around five hours when the suspect walked in and was checked out by medical staff.
“They checked him and everything and suddenly he sat where I was, right in front of me,” Castillo said. “He was there at least two hours. He was falling asleep in front of me.”
She noted that he had several plastic bags with him.
When Castillo left briefly and returned, he was gone. Shortly after, it smelled like smoke and nurses ran to the bathroom.
“Security tried to go in, and I guess he had the door locked,” she told OnScene.TV, a news organization that works with The Orange County Register.
Then the authorities were called and patients, at least 10 by Castillo’s count, were moved out of the emergency room’s waiting area.
The only reported injury was the suspect’s and he was treated by medical staff on scene.
Source: Orange County Register