After fire, LRGHealthcare must replace ability to do 1 million pounds of wash a year

LACONIA — With the loss of its laundry facilities in the fire that destroyed the commercial building at 161 Court Street 10 days ago, LRGHealthcare has begun looking for a new space where it can wash its dirty linen.

Sandy Marshall, director of public relations for the hospital company, said yesterday that the laundry operates two shifts seven days a week, processing approximately a million pounds of wash a year. The laundry serves all the corporation's facilities, including the two hospitals — Lakes Region General Hospital and Franklin Regional Hospital — Laconia Clinic, Hillside Medical Center, Inter-Lakes Medical Center and physician practices.

The laundry operated in 6,616-square-feet at the Fair Street end of the building. Although much of the equipment was damaged or destroyed by smoke and water, the laundry was the only one of the seven businesses in the building spared from the flames. Marshall said that three of the four dryers were ruined, the folding machine was damaged and all the laundry carts were lost, but the washing machines escaped intact. "Of course, everything must be cleaned," she said. Trucks garaged in the building were also spared severe damage and firefighters salvaged much of the finished laundry that was packaged for return to the facilities.

Marshall said that the hospitals have linen supplies for two or three days on hand. After the fire LRGHeathcare contracted with Kleen Linen of Lebanon to do their wash and kept the laundry employees on the payroll by reassigning them to other duties.

Marshall said that the search for new space to house the laundry has just begun. Since the bulk of the laundry is generated by facilities in and around Laconia, she expected the facility would be located in or near the city.