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Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson hospital suffers millions of dollars in damages from earthquake

Mark Bean, a 773d Civil Engineer Squadron heating ventilation air conditioning refrigeration technician, looks for leaks while finishing a repair at the Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Joint Mobility Complex, Dec. 4, 2018. During the Nov. 30 earthquake the glycol heating return pipe was severely damaged, causing the pipes to separate and leak. (Airman 1st Class Crystal A. Jenkins/U.S. Air Force)

Medical facilities at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska sustained millions of dollars in damages last week from a massive earthquake, with one facility destroyed and another suffering equipment losses, the base medical group commander said Tuesday.

“We have probably about $7 million worth of damage that we’re going to have to work on in the next several months,” Col. Mark Lamey, acting 673rd Medical Group commander, said during a town hall meeting about installation services after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake Friday.

The installation is still “providing all the health care capability sets that we’ve always had, minus a couple things,” he said. Some services cannot be performed due to some medical equipment needing to be replaced or recalibrated, such as machines used for laser eye surgeries.

Their flight medicine building, which focuses on pilots and air crew medical readiness, was “completely devastated,” Lamey said.

“The interior is destroyed and so we’ve had to relocate those functions,” to the family health clinic, he said. Their occupational medicine and deployment health operations have also been relocated to another building on base.

There was also a loss to routine appointments since the earthquake. Lamey said he is looking into extending their hours to provide care to the community.

The Glenn Highway, a main road leading to the base, was also damaged in several places so the installation is trying to stagger when people come on the base for work, according to Lt. Col. John Ross, a spokesman for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and the 673rd Air Base Wing.


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