Bartlett Regional Hospital Emergency Department Director Kim McDowell, left, talks to Community Relations Director Katie Bausler on Wednesday about the flooding caused by a fire in the department’s bathroom early Wednesday morning. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Bartlett Regional Hospital Emergency Department Director Kim McDowell, left, talks to Community Relations Director Katie Bausler on Wednesday about the flooding caused by a fire in the department’s bathroom early Wednesday morning. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Hospital bathroom set on fire overnight

For the second straight day, in much a similar way, a bathroom was burned by an arsonist in Juneau.

Shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday morning, the Juneau fire department was brought to Bartlett Regional Hospital by a 911 caller reporting fire and an explosion.

“Someone had set something on fire in the bathroom in the waiting room lobby adjacent to the emergency room,” said Capital City Fire/Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Ed Quinto.

The fire came less than 24 hours after an as-yet-unidentified arsonist set a fire in a Thunder Mountain High School bathroom.

Katie Bausler, a spokeswoman for the hospital, said a man identified as Arlo Bradstreet set a small fire in a bathroom trash can. The fire melted the trash can and was sufficiently hot to trigger the bathroom’s sprinkler system.

According to court records online, Bradstreet has been charged with second-degree arson, a class B felony. He is scheduled to be arraigned on those charges at 1:15 p.m. today at Dimond Courthouse.

Two patients and 15 staff were working in the hospital’s emergency department at the time: All were exposed to smoke, but none sought medical attention, Bausler said.

Quinto said a triage nurse in the emergency department reported hearing a loud boom and feeling the room shake as the fire took place. It is yet not clear what, if anything, exploded during the fire.

Bausler said the noise and shaking may have been caused by the sheer force of the sprinkler system starting.

“The sprinklers really did their job,” Bausler said, adding that an inch of water covered the floor of the emergency department’s waiting room before cleanup began.

When the Empire visited the hospital Wednesday morning, there was little sign of damage and more sign — literally — of cleanup. “Wet floor” signs were scattered around the waiting room near floor fans attempting to dry the scene.

Hospital workers were also examining the darkened bathroom, which showed little surface damage from the fire.

This isn’t the first time someone has set fire to a Bartlett bathroom.

In 2014, an arsonist set fire to a second-floor bathroom at the hospital, also triggering the building’s sprinkler system. In that case, water seeped into the room below, causing more than $100,000 in damage.

In this case, the fire took place on the ground floor, and the damage is expected to be much less.

In 2016, the Juneau Police Department reported four arsons within the borough. So far this year, there have been at least three, including the April destruction of Project Playground.


• Contact reporter James Brooks at james.k.brooks@juneauempire.com or call 523-2258.


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