Investigation launched into fire at old North Wing hospital site in Bedford

Firefighters were still at the scene of the fire this mornng
Firefighters were still at the scene of the fire this mornng

An investigation has been launched into the cause of a fire which destroyed the main building of the old North Wing hospital site in Kimbolton Road, Bedford, last night. (Jan 3)

Up to 60 firefighters battled into the early hours of the morning to bring the blaze under control. Fortunately the building is now disused and there were no casualities.

MBTC North Wing fire

MBTC North Wing fire

However adjoining buildings are used by the NHS and other health care providers for out-patient clinics.

A spokesman for Bedford Hospital NHS Trust, said: “Following last night’s fire at a vacant building on the Bedford Health Village site all Bedford Hospital NHS Trust Services at Gilbert Hitchcock House will run as normal, with no appointments cancelled.

“However, all Moorfields appointments scheduled for today at the Enhanced Services Centre (ESC) in Bedford Health Village will now take place at the South Wing site. If Moorfields appointments cannot take place at the ESC next week, “Bedford Hospital will look to open additional clinic space at Gilbert Hitchcock House. Any affected patients will be contacted.

“Please be aware that there is currently limited car parking at Gilbert Hitchcock House so, where possible, we would advise patients to consider alternative travel arrangements.

“The fire took place in a vacant building owned by NHS Property Services; therefore there were no patients or staff within this building. For any further information regarding this building, please redirect your enquiries to NHS Property Services on media.enquiry@property.nhs.uk or 07990 848906.”

The spokesman explained that the building - known as Shires House, is located at what is now known as Bedford Health Village (formerly North Wing).

Martin Steele, Chief Operating Officer at NHS Property Services said: “We are extremely grateful to Bedford Fire & Rescue services for their continued efforts at Shires House. Our priority now is to ensure that our partner organisations are able to access adjoining buildings safely. The cause of the fire is subject to investigation.”

In a statement Circle Health said: “We have been informed that the building next to our Bedford facility has caught fire and that we are unlikely to be allowed the access the building on Friday.

“As such, will be unable to offer clinics that were scheduled for Bedford at the Enhanced Services Centre; clinics at other locations are unaffected.”

Firefighters used specialist equipment and a hydraulic ladders to reach the flames but the fire quickly spread to the roof.

In a tweet this morning, firefighters at the scene wrote: “Crews are still on scene at Bedford Health Village, Kimbolton Road, Bedford.

“We now have 2 appliances, 2 aerial platforms and 2 water carriers on scene while crews dampen down and ensure the building is stable.

“The road is now open. The cause of the fire is subject to investigation.”

A statement from Bedford Hospital NHS Trust said: “Bedford Hospital NHS Trust are aware of the fire services currently attending Shires House that is located at Bedford Health Village on Kimbolton Road (formerly North Wing).

“This is a vacant building and owned by NHS Property Services, therefore there are no patients or staff within this building.”

A Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue spokesman said: “Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to a fire in a derelict building to the rear of the Health Village at Bedford Hospital at 18.07 on Thursday evening (3 January 2019).

“Eight fire engines are in attendance to tackle the blaze supported by the Bedford and Luton Arial platforms, the Incident Command Centre, two Water Carriers and the Operational Support Unit from Potton.

“Firefighters are fighting the fire from outside the building and are protecting the surrounding area from the fire.

“There are no persons reported or casualties.”

The incident is ongoing.

A Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue spokesman said: “Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to a fire in a derelict building to the rear of the Health Village at Bedford Hospital at 18.07 on Thursday evening (3 January 2019).

“Eight fire engines were in attendance to tackle the blaze supported by the Bedford and Luton Arial platforms, the Incident Command Centre, two Water Carriers and the Operational Support Unit from Potton.

The old North Wing hopsital site includes the old Bedford workhouse building, which suffered extensive damage as a result of the fire. Services include occupational therapy, physiotherapy and rehabilitation facilities, as well as a chest clinic and a drop-in dental service.

READ MORE: Video footage shows firefighters on scene as huge blaze destroys buildings at old North Wing Hospital site in Bedford