Bargain hunters were out in force Saturday at the former site of Hawaii Medical Center West.
"I think it's about 1,500 people that are coming to buy items," said St. Francis Healthcare System President and CEO Gerry Correa. "We're cleaning out what does not need to be here."
St. Francis held the "garage sale" as it prepares for the possible transfer of the hospital to the parent company of the Queen's Medical Center.
The "fire sale" of office supplies, furniture, and appliances was a necessary step before a deal to purchase the West Oahu hospital can be inked with Queen's Health Systems.
Correa told KITV4 the sale of the hospital remains on track, but it would likely be months, not weeks, before a deal could be finalized.
"Both St. Francis and Queen's are working very, very hard to move as quickly as (they) can, but it's a process and it needs to be right," said Correa.
Before the sale began at 11 a.m., a long line stretched out the door of the former hospital.
Sander Magsino, of Waipahu, a former worker at HMC West, purchased two large refrigerators for only $190. Although he was happy about the bargain, what Magsino really wants is for the hospital to reopen.
"I will apply again because I love this place," he said. "It's close to my house...only five minutes away."
Kimberlynne Wood drove from Oahu's North Shore to rummage through five floors worth of merchandise.
"They have a lot of tables that have wheels on (them and) TVs are good," said Wood. "They have a lot of lockers that a lot of people will turn into smokers, so if you fish or hunt, those are good."
Correa said proceeds from the sale would go toward existing St. Francis programs. He singled out Our Lady of Kea'au, which feeds 250 homeless every week, as well as hospice and home care services.
"We do a lot of charity care, so all the proceeds are going to some of our existing services to help the community on the Leeward side," said Correa.
Those who missed Saturday's bargain hunting will get another chance on Aug. 25. That's when St. Francis plans to hold another garage sale at its Liliha campus, the former site of Hawaii Medical Center East.
"It's probably going to be just as big," said Correa. "More office supplies, desks, cabinets – those types of stuff."
St. Francis reclaimed possession of both hospitals in May after Hawaii Medical Center filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for a second time in June of 2011. Both hospitals closed their doors to patients in December.
Among those trolling the hallways of the former HMC West Saturday was the city's Emergency Services director, Dr. James Ireland. Ireland purchased a refrigerator and a microwave for $120 for the new paramedic station in Ewa Beach.
"We want to support the sisters, and at the same time, there's a lot of great deals down here," said Ireland.
If Queen's follows through with the purchase, Ireland said reopening the West Oahu hospital will go a long way in serving the growing population of Ewa, Kapolei and the rest of the Leeward Coast.
"We're really eager to get this open once again as a first-class hospital in the west," said Ireland. "Hopefully that's just around the corner, but it really can't come soon enough."
St. Francis is looking at a possible auction to divest itself of medical equipment from both hospitals that could be worth more than $1 million.
"We're going to be talking to other hospitals and other providers in health care to see if they're interested before we turn it over to an auctioneer," said Correa.
Volunteers are still needed to help organize all of the merchandise and medical equipment at the Liliha campus. Correa said anyone interested should give him a call at 547-8004.