ER reopens at Crittenden Regional after fire closed hospital

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Thousands of patients were affected when a fire closed Crittenden Regional Hospital more than a month ago.

Tressa Lowrey was one of those patients.

She had to drive all the way to Baptist from Hayfer to see a doctor, "It was an hour out of my way to have it done."

Friday the emergency room, patient care and labor and delivery services re-opened.

Gene Cashman is the hospital's CEO, "Our sense of gratitude to this community couldn't be higher right now. They've walked with us through this event and they've been very patient with us."

The ER at Crittenden Regional usually sees 60-70 patients every day.

For the past six weeks EMTs drove at least an extra 20 minutes over the bridge into Memphis, when every minute matters in life or death situations.

While the hospital's open again, Cashman says there's still plenty of work to do, "The next phase will be addressing the unit where the fire actually happened that area has been abated and walled off and it is basically ready for reconstruction."

Lowrey said she is glad to see her own doctors again, and knowing people in emergencies will have a better chance of getting to the hospital in time, "It is more convenient to have the hospital right here where we can get to it. Instead of taking the chance on are we going to get there in time or not."

Investigators still don't know what sparked the fire.

The operating room should reopen next week, but the area where the fire happened may not reopen until September.