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Cops: Nassau man set hospital gurney afire

A hospital emergency room patient was arrested after he became agitated early Friday and set his gurney afire, Nassau police said.

Patrick Callahan, 26, of Levittown, had to be restrained by staff at the Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow when he became uncooperative about 2:20 a.m., police said.

Inside a room with two other patients, Callahan then took a lighter from his pocket and lit up his sheets, mattress and gurney, police said.

The fire created smoky conditions in the emergency room, which contained several oxygen tanks, but the flames were put out by hospital staff, police said.

About 52 other patients, family and staff were there, but they did not have to be evacuated, police said. No injuries were reported, police said.

Police did not elaborate on why Callahan became agitated.

Hospital spokeswoman Shelley Lotenberg also declined to say why Callahan became agitated, citing heath privacy laws and the police investigation.

In a statement, Lotenberg praised employees: "We applaud our quick thinking and dedicated employees who were able to extinguish the fire and ensure the safety of our patients, their family members, and our staff. Our security division immediately notified the NCPD who came in and arrested him."

Callahan, of 31 Grassy Lane, was arraigned Friday on first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree criminal mischief and fifth-degree arson charges. He also had a Nassau warrant issued June 19 for disorderly conduct. Bail information was not immediately available.

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