A man, whose name has not been released, committed suicide early Friday morning by jumping off the roof of a building next door to a midtown Manhattan hospital and landed on the hospital’s pressurized oxygen tank, severing it. The line ruptured on impact and caused an oxygen leak that led to hospital staff having to evacuate an entire department and divert all incoming patients.
The police report states that at approximately 1:51 a.m. on Friday morning, a man on the west side of Manhattan jumped to his death from the roof of his apartment building at one Columbus Place. The building happened to be adjacent to Mount Sinai West Hospital on West 59th Street and the man’s body landed in such a way that he damaged the supply line to the hospital’s oxygen tanks just outside of the emergency department. No other persons were injured due to the man’s fall.
Man Jumps From Building, Busts Open an Oxygen Line at a Nearby Hospital: In a case of doubly tragic bad aim early… https://t.co/i9VPCrVUr2— Breaking NYC News (@breakingnycnews) January 8, 2016
The identity of the 31-year-old male who’s suicide jump landed his body in the oxygen tank, and was pronounced dead at the scene, is being withheld until his next of kin have been informed of the tragedy.
Employees at Mount Sinai were sent into a panic as they were forced to evacuate the emergency room, and, as a precaution, relocate all of the patients that were in that department. They also hurriedly diverted all patients that were on their way to the hospital to other emergency rooms in the area. According to the Wall Street Journal, law enforcement officials also reported that any patients who needed oxygen had to be moved to another part of the hospital where it was still available. Amy Ficon, spokeswoman for the company that supplies the oxygen tanks to the hospital, The Linde Group, advised that the oxygen supply to the hospital was never in any danger and never ceased. It was a line from the oxygen’s tank vaporizer that had been damaged and that tank was only a back up.
Nonetheless the major fire hazard that is an oxygen leak commanded a response from the New York Police Department along with firefighters and hazmat teams. The authorities shut down 59th Street between Ninth and Tenth Avenues while they investigated the incident.
Approximately three hours after the damaged oxygen tank forced the evacuation the emergency room, the department was re-opened. The hospital’s spokesman, Sid Dinsay, assured the public that patient care was in no way compromised during the incident. It was about 6 a.m. when diversions to other hospitals ceased completely. The authorities had declared the area safe once more.
“There was no adverse impact to other hospital operations or patient care; the hospital’s oxygen supply system remains fully functional.”
Another vendor that provides portable oxygen systems, and is located in Pennsylvania, was contacted and given police escort to aid the hospital. The New York Daily News reported that the private New jersey company’s oxygen was to be used while the rupture was being repaired. According to Dinsay, the damaged oxygen tank was to be repaired by late afternoon.
Several residents of the building the suicide jumper used were interviewed and stated that it was the sirens from the police and firefighters that first let them know that there was an issue on their street in the early morning. They also spoke of shock over the incidence of the man jumping from the building, as well as the damage caused. The residents did remain grateful that there was not a worse incident.
The managers for the residential building at 1 Columbus Place could not be reached for questions or comments.
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