Reviving a Medical Center in Record Time

BELFOR Property Restoration receives this year’s Phoenix Award for Innovation in Restoration

Last December, a two-alarm fire sparked patient evacuations at Medical Center Health System’s Center for Women & Infants in Odessa, Texas. An isolated electrical fire stemming from a third-floor physician room created significant fire, smoke, and water damage. BELFOR Property Restoration immediately dispatched an emergency response team to the medical center and worked around the clock to restore medical center operations and patient care within just five weeks.

As the region’s largest medical center, the MCH Center for Women & Infants is a $42 million facility that includes 12 labor and delivery rooms, 30 private post-partum rooms, 20 newborn nursery beds, 30 private neonatal intensive care units rooms, and four Ronald McDonald family rooms.

The accelerated schedule and sensitivity of the type of facility posed some unique challenges, but BELFOR was up to the task, says project coordinator Marcus Garza, who is also general manager of the Dallas/Fort Worth location. “The most challenging aspect of this project was the aggressive timeline required to get the hospital back open,” Garza says. “Additionally, we had to segregate the area where the fire occurred from the remaining sections of the hospital to ensure the opening could take place. The source area was put under negative pressure and monitored to prevent cross-contamination from the sterile hospital environment while reconstruction efforts took place.”

Project manager Shawna Wood was tasked with setting a realistic timeline and project milestones, which were measured on a percentage completion basis. The timeline was modified as new challenges arose throughout the project, Garza describes.

Garza takes particular pride in BELFOR’s ability to provide a single-source solution to achieve the impressive results of this project. “We employed our Technical Service division to handle the cleaning and recertification of electronics and machinery. Our Mechanical Division, DUCTZ, cleaned a completed and sprawling HVAC system to ensure the indoor air quality standards were hospital grade,” he says. “There is no other company that could have handled this completely in-house like we did.”


Due to the high importance of maintaining a sterile environment at all times, BELFOR focused on mitigating contamination throughout the facility. This was accomplished by completely segregating the source of the fire and establishing construction barrier walls. An isolated HVAC system was needed to discontinue the spread of dust and debris throughout the facility. Large duct systems were set up to strategically ventilate air, allowing BELFOR to exhaust contaminates. While adhering to strict health and safety guidelines, the restoration experts at BELFOR were able to permit sanitization and reconstruction services simultaneously, ultimately conserving time and monetary expenses for the medical center.


From the use of BELFOR-developed chemicals to the use of robots to complete the sterilization, the project brought out a truly revolutionary way to approach restoration.

Due to the critical emphasis on sanitation in all medical field practices, the challenge of maintaining proper procedures throughout the entire recovery process was imperative. The BELFOR team worked closely with the hospital’s epidemiologist and a third-party certified industrial hygienist to ensure the restoration of the hospital met the infectious disease protocol to allow recertification from the Texas Department of State Health Services.

They followed a two-step process to properly sanitize and sterilize all affected areas of the hospital.

  • The sanitization process entailed the removal of damaged building material, and cleaning of all structural members, equipment, and machinery throughout all three floors. The hygienist then tested for contaminated airborne and surface-born particulates. This precise procedure was also completed in inpatient and operating rooms suffering from smoke damage.
  • The sterilization process was conducted after rebuild materials and additional cleaning was performed to ensure a sterile environment for all patients and staff. Following the medical center’s infectious disease control plan and utilizing the latest technology available, including UV light treatment and robots, BELFOR was able to ensure absolute cleanliness and sterilization.

The Phoenix Award The RIA Phoenix Award for Innovation in Restoration is awarded to a contractor or firm for a residential or commercial restoration project, which does not include building reconstruction, but may include the restoration and/or remediation of a structure and its contents.

BELFOR also played a vital role in evaluating and recovering each piece of equipment damaged by water and soot. The team was able to determine which items were non-salvageable, saving valuable time to allow for ordering new equipment. The BELFOR team was able to recover many of these items, saving the medical center three to four weeks of lead time and additional expenses for attaining new materials.


The facility’s first floor housed delicate MRI and CAT scan equipment that was partially damaged by water and smoke damage. As the region’s largest medical center, BELFOR worked tirelessly to ensure that scheduled and emergency medical evaluations could be accessible.

To maintain the operation of these critical life support systems during the power outage, BELFOR crafted a unique and efficient energy solution. By utilizing several temporary generators in place of the hospital’s resources, BELFOR was able to establish a stable backup system and lessen the wear and tear impact of the medical center’s emergency power source. Going a step further, BELFOR introduced permanent, stable power to the building as the fire had damaged critical mechanical elements. By ultimately reconfiguring the medical center’s electrical system, BELFOR’s rented generator equipment was no longer required, significantly cutting the client’s expenses while establishing a more secure, efficient, in-house power source.


The most challenging aspect of this project was the aggressive timeline required to get the hospital back open.

This project embodied innovation in several other ways, including the firm’s ability to transform the way it approached the cleaning process for this particular building envelope. “Because of the hygienic standards that were in play, our cleaning methods were tailored to three categories: rough clean, sanitization, and sterilization,” he describes. “Our efforts were monitored and tested by the CIH (certified industrial hygienist) to ensure we were reaching the requirements of the infectious disease protocol. From the use of BELFOR- developed chemicals to the use of robots to complete the sterilization, the project brought out a truly revolutionary way to approach restoration.” RIA

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