Vandal nearly caused explosion at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after tampering with an oxygen tank

A lout caused a hospital department to be evacuated after he jumped into a restricted area and tampered with a large oxygen tank.

Tuesday, 30th July 2019, 1:23 pm
Edinburgh Royal Infirmary (Photo: TSPL)

The orthopaedic unit at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary had to be closed off after Jason Davidson climbed over a fence and opened the valve on the 20-foot tank.

Clouds of gas and smoke containing liquid oxygen poured from the tank putting patients and staff at severe risk of an explosion.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court was told the leaking oxygen could have caused “a major incident” if it had ignited and could have led to “an explosion that could cause injury to patients”.

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Davidson, 26, appeared at the capital court yesterday (TUES) where he pleaded guilty to acting in a culpable or reckless manner during the incident last September.

Fiscal depute Naomi Warner told the court Davidson, from Mayfield, Midlothian, was at the ERI at around 4.10am on September 7 last year.

Ms Warner said Davidson was causing a disturbance at the A&E department and after he had been identified police began a search for him in the hospital grounds.

During the search a police officer spotted the gas leak and the orthopaedic unit was immediately shut down and patients and staff evacuated to a safe area of the hospital.

The fire service were alerted and police viewed hospital CCTV to find out how the gas leak occurred.

Ms Warner said: “The accused was seen with a female walking around the building near Car Park C. He went to a fenced off area and was seen to climb a secured fence containing liquid oxygen tanks.

“He then spent some time tampering with the valve of the tank and you can see the accused struggling with the wheel of the tank.

“Gas and smoke were then seen profusely pouring from the tank.”

Davidson was then seen running away from the area but he was soon caught by police officers and arrested.

The prosecutor added “an ignition could have led to an explosion causing injury to patients and staff” at the hospital.

The court also heard if the gas had been ignited it would have taken around nine fire engines to deal with the blaze.

The fiscal added there had been “no apparent reason” why Davidson had carried out the dangerous act

Solicitor Murray Robertson reserved his mitigation to the sentencing g diet.

Sheriff Thomas Welsh QC deferred sentence to next month.