Probe into cause of hospital fire


London : Investigators were Thursday looking for evidence of how a fire which swept through the Royal Marsden Hospital, in Chelsea, west London, started yesterday afternoon, the London Fire Brigade said.

Support TwoCircles

Operations had to be halted and patients and staff were led to safety as fire broke out at the leading cancer treatment centre.

At its height, 125 firefighters were at the scene.

Only four people needed treatment for the effects of smoke from the fire which started on the fourth floor where construction work was taking place.

About 800 staff and up to 160 patients and out-patients were moved to safety from the hospital. They were relocated to nearby hospitals.

This included two patients undergoing surgery at the time and were safely taken off their anaesthetic and ventilators and moved to a neighbouring hospital.

Five Kuwaiti patients who were receiving treatment at the hospital are safe and well, according to the Kuwait Health Office in London.

Four of them have been sent home and the fifth, whose condition requires special attention, was transferred to the nearby Royal Brompton Hospital.

Dr. Aled Jones, a surgical doctor, was led out of the hospital in a break between operations.

He told reporters “We did think it could have been a false alarm, but the message spread quickly around the hospital and we could smell the smoke.” The Royal Marsden was the first hospital in the world dedicated to cancer treatment and research, seeing more than 40,000 patients from the UK and abroad every year.

Professor Ray Powles, former head of haematooncology, said valuable research material would not be lost as there was a second site in Sutton, Surrey, outside London, but added that the loss of the hospital would be a “huge, huge step back” for cancer treatment.