Man crashes car into Middlesex Hospital before setting himself on fire

Firefighters on the scene after a car crashed into Middlesex Hospital in Middletown, February 22, 2018 (WTNH / George Roelofsen)

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) – A man is in critical condition after crashing his car into Middlesex Hospital in Middletown and then setting himself on fire on Thursday morning.

Police, fire crews, the FBI, the State Fire Marshall, ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection are all on the scene at Middlesex Hospital at 28 Crescent Street, where a man crashed his Chevy into the emergency room entrance of the building, just before 10 a.m. According to witnesses on scene, the driver then set himself on fire.

Police say it does not appear that he made it into the hospital’s lobby, only getting as far as the sliding doors right before the seating area.

Police are not releasing the identity of the driver but say he is a man in his twenties.  He was taken by Life Star helicopter to the Bridgeport Hospital burn unit where he is in critical condition.

Middletown Police Chief McKenna says that the man is known to Middletown Police and has been in the system multiple times but did not say what for.

According to Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, multiple gas cans were later found inside of his vehicle.

Police are also searching the man’s home and as a precautionary measure, have evacuated nearby homes. The Middlesex Hospital’s emergency room and nearby buildings were also evacuated out of precaution.

David Giuffrida, Vice President of Operations at Middlesex Hospital, says that there were 30 patients and 20 staff members in the Emergency Department at the time of the incident and that they were evacuated to other areas of the hospital where they are safe.

Giuffrida added that there was no significant damage to the building besides where the crash took place.

Giuffrida says that there were no threats that they were aware of made to the hospital leading up to the incident.

Mayor Drew says they believe this an isolated incident and that there is no threat to the community. However, he says that police are securing other public facilities in Middletown, including schools, out of an abundance of caution.

Middletown has also activated their Emergency Operations Center as this investigation unfolds.

Middlesex Hospital has suspended all outpatient services at their Middletown location for the day and the Emergency Room remains closed. However, their Westbrook and Marlborough facilities remain open.

Drew says that the man’s motives are unknown at this time. The incident remains under investigation.

Just before 1:00 p.m., HartfordHealthcare, which owns and operates Middlesex Hospital, issued the following statement:

This morning a car crashed into the entrance of the Emergency Department (ED) at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown. Middlesex Hospital’s ED is currently on diversion.

MidState Medical Center, both campuses of The Hospital of Central Connecticut and Hartford Hospital are accepting diverted patients.

The Hartford HealthCare 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.