By Jill Gosche and staff


A smell of natural gas in the area of Van Buren Street early Tuesday led to a brief evacuation at ProMedica Fostoria Community Hospital.

Two patients were transferred to ProMedica Fremont Memorial Hospital before the all clear was issued by Chief Brian Herbert of Fostoria Fire Division.

Herbert said a natural gas odor was reported at the hospital, and a man at 601 Van Buren St. reported a strong odor that awoke him.

“We evacuated him,” he said.

The hospital is located at 501 Van Buren St.

Fostoria Police Department knocked on doors on Van Buren Street to ensure no one else had odors in the home. No other houses were evacuated, Herbert said.

The incident was reported about 5:25 a.m.

Herbert said he could smell the odor inside the hospital when he arrived. It was a “faint” odor inside, and the odor was throughout the building, he said, adding he thought the air handlers carried it through the building.

Herbert said officials didn’t know what caused the odor. Columbia Gas responded and checked the building.

“They did not (find anything),” Herbert said.

Herbert estimated the hospital was evacuated for an hour. Most employees went to their vehicles, and people sheltered in place on the second floor of the hospital, he said.

“Midway through the evacuation, the evacuation was canceled and ProMedica was given the all-clear to return patients and employees to the building. Shortly thereafter, the hospital returned to normal operations,” Tausha Moore, director of public relations for ProMedica, reports.

Herbert said officials evacuated two patients — one from the emergency room and one from the second floor — by ProMedica and Hanco ambulances, he said.

Fostoria Fire Division called in all off-duty personnel, and Tiffin Fire Rescue Division sent an engine and medic and also called in additional personnel.

Herbert said Fostoria Fire Division called for Bascom EMS for evacuation precautions in case patients had to be taken elsewhere. Bettsville EMS and NBS EMS District also were summoned.

The county ambulances were disregarded and weren’t needed, Herbert said.

About 45 minutes before the incident in Fostoria, Tiffin Fire Rescue Division was summoned to Mercy Health – Tiffin Hospital, 45 St. Lawrence Drive, for a gas odor coming from the kitchen.

It was a burner left on on a stove, a Tiffin Fire Rescue Division spokesman said.