Hospital fire damage will cost millions

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Fire chiefs have confirmed that the incident on Saturday night was started by an electrical fault in a convenience store drinks fridge, based in the hospital’s atrium.

Eric Morton, chief executive at the Royal, said: “The area that was the convenience store was completely gutted and will need some demolition and rebuilding because the metal warped with the heat. It tore a hole clean in the roof, exposing it to the elements.

“We will know later this week whether there is any structural work needed in the fracture clinic and the entrance.”

Thankfully nobody was injured, but full repairs are likely to take months to rebuild at a cost of millions of pounds.

15 patients had to be transferred to other hospitals in Mansfield, Bassetlaw and Sheffield during the blaze, which took 60 firefighters and ten engines four hours to battle.

The fire caused significant damage to the main entrance, accident and emergency and the fracture clinic as well as the atrium and office areas.

The exact cost of damages is still being calculated, but a hospital spokesperson confirmed it is likely to be in the millions, although exact figures are not yet known.

Although the hospital was not equipped with a sprinkler system - which is currently not a requirement in hospitals under NHS Firecode design guidance - hospital chiefs insist this had no impact on the fire as it was an electrical fault.

Chesterfield Royal chief executive, Eric Morton, said:

“It was an electrical fire, so sprinklers wouldn’t have done anything. When we go back in there we will look whether they would work well in the future. As we review any area we take it very very seriously and when we revamped it three years ago it more than met fire regulation standards with fire doors and shields, which is why the fire was contained where it was.”

Group Manager for Derbyshire Fire and Rescue, Bob Curry, added: “Electrical equipment will fail occasionally. Sprinklers do extinguish fires in their early stages but there is no legal requirement for them to have one fitted.”

The emergency services were alerted at around 9.30pm on June 25 when a security guard saw smoke coming from the store’s shutters.

Fire crews from Chesterfield arrived at the scene four minutes later, followed by Staveley and Bolsover units.

Bob Curry was on scene throughout the night. He said:

“It was a challenging job. It grew very rapidly. It went through the roof and started spreading to offices above. It was a very tough fire and it did take a lot of time to bring under control.”

Fire crews handed over to the hospital at around 10.30am on Sunday, but remained on site to assist the estates team with early risk assessments.

But both men congratulated the efforts of their teams, for ensuring the operation was carried out efficiently and without casualties.

All admissions are now open at the hospital, with some clinics moved to new locations.

The orthopaedic and fracture clinics which were badly affected were relocated to Staveley Ward where they will remain for the forseeable future. Reception facilities and booked admissions will remain in out-patient suite 1 until further notice and the Ambuline transport service has relocated to Scarsdale Wing entrance.