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Alleged fire starter may be sent to high security facility

Alleged fire starter may be sent to high security facility


As government officials execute plans to restore calm to the Mental Health Centre (MHC) following Monday night’s fire, it seems that the hospital will no longer be home to the patient who allegedly started the fire.{{more}}

A male patient who resides at the Glen institution was taken to the Calliaqua Police Station after allegedly starting the fire that blazed for almost three hours.

At a press conference on Tuesday morning, Dr. Amrie Morris-Patterson, Head of the MHC, described the patient as having a history of violence and aggressive behavior.

She suggested that he “would probably be more properly accommodated in a high security facility.”

Minister of Health and the Environment Dr. Douglas Slater was one of the health personnel who journeyed to Glen at midnight Monday to assist in formulating a contingency plan to deal with the fire that started at about 11: 05 p.m., and to evacuate patients who needed to be taken to safer quarters.

The fire occurred in a wing that housed 50 males.

Slater told the media the decision was made to place the accused patient in police custody on the grounds of security.

“We have a few other such patients and we have already started some discussions with the security services and the health services, where we are considering relocating

some of those violence prone security risk patients to another institution where they can be better managed than the Mental Health Centre,” said Slater.

“We certainly won’t want a repetition of this, and we have had a similar incident that was more quickly controlled,” said the Minister, adding there are other incidents that his ministry are aware of that would justify such action.

The emergency management team that ensured that there were no injuries or death involved Chief Medical Officer Dr. St.Clair Thomas, Dr. Morris-Patterson, Area Representative Clayton Burgin, Director of NEMO Howie Prince, and Deputy Police Commissioner Bertie Pompey.

At the time of the fire, 183 patients (130 males and 53 females) were housed at the MHC. Following the fire, 46 females and 28 males were evacuated to the nearby St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College, Division of Arts, Sciences and General Studies.

“We were fortunate not to have suffered any injuries and certainly no deaths,” said the Minister of Health.

Meanwhile, Dr.Morris-Patterson disclosed that upon the patients’ return to the mental institution, a selection process will commence, which will allow the MHC to redistribute the patients to the remaining wings, and to community health centres.

She said those who can be managed in the community will be returned there and will be attended to at home.

Dr.Morris-Patterson expressed that patients will only be admitted at the MHC if absolutely necessary.

While the press conference was taking place the patients were being relocated to the MHC.