29/09/2008

Children Flee London Hospital Blaze

There has been a second major fire in a London hospital, this time leading to children having to be revived from pre-operative anaesthetisation.

Children who were about to have operations were woken-up in order to be evacuated after a fire and an explosion at Great Ormond Street hospital.

Back in January, a fire at the Royal Marsden Hospital saw dozens of patients evacuated as flames tore through the roof and upper floors of the world-class specialist cancer hospital in Fulham Road, London, damaging two wards and five operating theatres.

Today's incident at the famous children's hospital saw fire break out in the cardiac wing of the specialist hospital at around 8.30am, and seemed to have caused a medical gas cylinder to explode.

The 23 patients in the wing at the time, their parents and hospital staff were evacuated. No one was believed to have been hurt, apart from four firefighters who suffered minor injuries tackling the blaze.

The incident has however badly damaged the hospital's cardiac unit and caused major disruption to the treatment of sick children at the hospital.

At least six fire engines and around 30 firefighters were at the scene throughout the morning, as well as several London Ambulance crews and a hazardous area response team. The fire was brought under control by 10am.

A London Ambulance spokeswoman confirmed that four firefighters were treated at the scene for minor injuries inflicted during the blaze. It is understood that they did not require hospital treatment.

Preliminary damage assessments had shown that levels three and four of the hospital wing were water-damaged, and level five, the cardiac unit itself, had suffered more severely, but the hospital has now been able to reopen to admit emergency patients.

All of today's operations were cancelled, but will be rescheduled according to clinical need, with tomorrow's set to go ahead as normal.

Great Ormond Street hospital was founded in 1852 as the Hospital for Sick Children.

(BMcC)

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