A man in his 20s intentionally crashed a car carrying several cans of gasoline into an emergency entrance at the Middlesex Hospital in Middletown on Thursday morning, setting himself on fire, officials said.
Police officers and fire crews were dispatched to the hospital at approximately 10 a.m. on Thursday, when the driver - reportedly identified as Steven Elam according to NBC - drove into the entrance, igniting the gas cans and himself.
The driver was airlifted to the Bridgeport Hospital burn unit in critical condition. Middletown Mayor Dan Drew said the tanks went up in flames on impact, and that the crash is believed to be intentional. It was not clear what the driver’s intention was, however.
None of the patients or hospital staff were injured, though more than two dozen patients had to be evacuated from the area as police investigated and crews cleared the scene. It is believed that this is an isolated incident, Drew noted. All outpatient services at the hospital have also been suspended until further notice.
Following the crash, the car could be seen completely in the entranceway of the hospital. Officials said that police are searching the driver’s home as a precaution and nearby homes have been evacuated. Local schools were not put into lockdown protocols, Drew said, but there was an increased police presence on Thursday afternoon.
HartfordHealthcare, which owns Middlesex Hospital, issued a statement on Thursday afternoon saying that their “Emergency Operations Center is monitoring the situation and as a precaution is increasing security at its emergency departments and other locations.
“Safety is the first of our core values. We are committed to maintaining safe workplaces across Hartford HealthCare, and we are dedicated to the safety and security of our patients and colleagues across our system.”
More details are expected to be released at a second press conference later on Thursday afternoon. Video of the initial press conference can be seen above.
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