Manufacturer Reports

Temporary Chillers Keep Fire-Damaged Hospital in Operation

February 11, 2008
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+

On a hot Friday morning, a fire raged at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Va. When the smoke had cleared, five of the seven chiller plants that served the hospital were victims of the fire. With the temperature rising, and the heat index topping out at 105 degrees, the hospital was unable to control the heat and humidity in the building - two absolutely critical hospital needs. But administrators knew people’s lives depended on the doors staying open - and they weren’t going to let anything, not even a devastating fire, make them turn people away.

“Before the fire was out we decided that Trane would be the lead contractor,” said Joe Savala, Norfolk Sentara facilities director. “We told Trane we expected to be back on-line before Monday morning.” It was quite a challenge - but Trane accepted.

Trane reacted quickly and devised a plan. First, it was vital to restore climate control to the hospital immediately. The facility needed temporary chillers and needed them quickly. Trane’s rental depot in Charlotte, N.C., was alerted and within 12 hours the company began delivering 5,200 tons of portable cooling capacity. Within 24 hours all chillers were on-site. At the hospital, people were feeling a little better already.

“We knew we had made the right decision when the convoy of trucks and portable cooling equipment started rolling in before midnight that Friday,” said Savala. Geoff Pierce, Trane account manager, said, “Competitors told the hospital that Trane couldn’t pull it off, but our customer trusted us. It was time for Trane to deliver and we did.”

Just getting the chillers on-site was a major task, but for Trane the job was just beginning. To meet the huge labor demand associated with connecting all the units, Trane’s technicians worked around the clock. This was not just a local hospital, it was also the local children’s hospital and the area’s only trauma and burn center, so it was necessary to get everything up and running quickly. Within 48 hours, the HVAC job was complete. By connecting the chillers to the hospital’s chilled water system, the hospital was able to stay open while the electrical distribution system was rebuilt. And with the temporary chillers running, the hospital’s patients were safe, sterile environments could be maintained, and the weekend’s appointments and surgeries continued as scheduled.

For more information on Trane Rental Services, visit

Publication date: 02/11/2008

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

2014 MCAA Annual Convention

Scenes from the 2014 MCAA Annual Convention in Scottsdale, Ariz.


NEWSmakers: Julian Scadden

Training is an ongoing process. Julian will discuss how you can generate maximum return on time and energy invested training by following a three part process. Listen to this podcast to get expert tips on training, tracking and follow up. 

More Podcasts



NEWS 04-14-14 cover

2014 April 14

Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe


Which statement on service calls best applies to your business?
View Results Poll Archive


2014 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research


Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


Magazine image
Register today for complete access to Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.


facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con