A portion of the ceiling at Oradell Animal Hospital collapsed today after a magnetic resonance imaging unit, or MRI, exploded at the specialty referral practice in Paramus, New Jersey.
Oradell Animal Hospital Facebook cover photo
With scores of veterinarians on staff, Oradell Animal Hospital normally operates round-the-clock in Paramus, New Jersey.
A local news outlet is reporting that at least one person is critically injured and two others sustained minor injuries.
The explosion occurred at 11:45 a.m. when staff from a leasing company attempted to disassemble and remove an MRI machine that was being replaced by one purchased through another company, said Dr. Kerry Bailey, a board-certified neurologist who works at Oradell.
The 37,000-square-foot facility was evacuated. Emergency personnel were called to the scene.
“Four critical (animal) patients have been transferred to a nearby veterinary practice, and everyone else is in the Home Depot parking lot across the street,” Bailey said by phone.
No Oradell Animal Hospitals patients or employees were injured during the explosion, she added.
It’s unclear what caused the MRI machine to explode. While fire and other hazardous incidents are rare, they’re not unheard of, especially during the installation, removal and servicing of MRI hardware. MRIs use strong magnets that are kept operational by liquid helium cooled to -450 degrees F. If that helium escapes its casing, evaporates and mixes with oxygen, pressure from the rapidly escaping gas can cause an explosion.
Oradell Animal Hospital is one of the largest general and specialty referral hospitals in the country, employing more than 50 veterinarians. Roughly 60 animals were inside the building at the time of the incident.