Derelict House Fire in Somerset

Firefighters have put out a blaze started at a derelict hospital in Somerset, in what is thought to have been a deliberate attack.

The former Butleigh Hospital building, situated near Street, caught alight in the early hours of yesterday (February 6th) morning and left fire safety officers and others working to put it out for several hours. Several calls were made to the local fire service at just after 01:00 GMT, prompting a response from both Street and Glastonbury brigades. However, after seeing the roof was well alight, an additional two fire engines from Castle Cary and Wells were sent to the scene.

Indeed, the severity meant an Incident Command Unit was also sent from Wiveliscombe, before another two fire units arrived from Wells and Birdgwater to suppress the fire. The conflagration spread from the ground floor, to the first storey and the roof and therefore took a couple of hours to get under control. At around 04:00 GMT, a more thorough investigation took place with fire crews checking for hotspots. Following this, an external search of the premises was carried out and the response scaled down to three fire appliances.

Speaking at 05:20 GMT - four hours after the fire started - Devon and Somerset Fire Rescue Service said: "This derelict property of three storeys was used as a former hospital measuring approximately 60 metres by 30 metres."The fire has been contained to the west wing of the premises, roughly 25 per cent, which has been destroyed on all three storeys and the roof. Crews used four jets, an aerial appliance and working from height with a 135 ladder to extinguish the fire. The cause of the fire is deliberate."

Non-domestic premises in England and Wales must have a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.