Crafty fag blamed for hospital fire

A SECRET smoker put lives at risk when they caused a fire at Ipswich Hospital which resulted in patients and staff being evacuated from the building.

A SECRET smoker put lives at risk when they caused a fire at Ipswich Hospital which resulted in patients and staff being evacuated from the building.

An investigation into the cause of the fire at the hospital on Monday has revealed a sneaky fag in a cupboard was to blame for the blaze which could have put people in serious danger.

Smoking is banned throughout the hospital and its grounds are also a smoke-free zone in an effort to prevent fires and promote a healthy lifestyle.

An investigation has so far failed to uncover if the fire was the work of a patient, visitor or staff member but today the hospital's director of estate and facilities, Steve Harrup, issued a stark message to people using the site that lighting up could result in serious consequences.


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He said: “The dangers of secret smoking within the hospital were underlined when several fire engines and firefighters were called to the north end of the site after smoke billowed along the corridor near the dermatology clinic.

“Patients and staff in the vicinity had to be evacuated.

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“The cause of the fire turned out to be someone having a cigarette in a cupboard and then putting the cigarette down a vent.

“The lighted cigarette came in contact with some wind-strewn rubbish and set this alight. The incident was promptly dealt with and no-one was hurt.

“There could have been a very different outcome with the well-being of patients and staff seriously put at risk.”

At about 3.30pm on Monday several fire crews were called to the hospital following the small fire, about the size of a bird's nest, in the dermatology department.

Initially one crew from the Colchester Road fire station was dispatched after being alerted by an automatic alarm.

Another crew was called after smoke was seen coming from under a doorway.

By 4pm the fire, which was in the underground service ducting, had been extinguished and the surrounding rooms and corridors had been ventilated.

Does more need to be done to clamp down on people who flout hospital rules by smoking? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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