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Fire erupts from White Hall specialty hospital under construction; no serious injuries reported

by I.C. Murrell | May 23, 2023 at 6:53 p.m.
Smoke rises from the Jefferson Regional specialty hospital in White Hall after it catches on fire Tuesday afternoon. (Special to The Commercial)

A fire erupted at the new Jefferson Regional specialty hospital building under construction in White Hall on Tuesday afternoon.

White Hall firefighters received a call about the fire at 4:30 p.m., Fire Chief Sandy Castleberry said. Departments from Pine Bluff, the Pine Bluff Arsenal, Hardin, Watson Chapel and Redfield responded to provide mutual aid, he said.

The fire was contained within 20 minutes, Castleberry said.

Black smoke could be seen rising from the upper level of the building, located behind Jefferson Regional’s Wellness Center on West Holland Avenue, just off Exit 32 on Interstate 530. Hospital spokeswoman Wendy Talbot said no serious injuries have resulted from the fire, but Castleberry said one construction worker suffered minor injuries. The worker refused medical care, according to Castleberry.

The cause of the fire is believed to be accidental, but is still under investigation, Castleberry added.

“I’m very thankful for the other departments that responded,” he said. “This was a big fire. I’m proud of the guys for their quick response to get it knocked down.”

Jefferson Regional is constructing a $55-million, 84,000-square-foot specialty hospital with plans to house 40 inpatient rehabilitation beds and 36 behavioral health unit beds. The facility is to be completed by early 2024, but it is not immediately known how the fire might impact the timeline.

LifePoint Health, which manages the inpatient rehab program, is set to control 40% of ownership in the specialty hospital, with Jefferson Regional owning the other 60%, according to an October article on the groundbreaking of the facility.

More information is expected following a conference call including hospital officials this evening.


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