Christie hospital fire: Blaze in cancer research unit

Media caption,
The fire at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute started at about 10:35 BST

Firefighters have spent most of the day tackling a blaze in a research building attached to the world-renowned Christie cancer hospital.

The fire in the first-floor plant room and roof space at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute in Wilmslow Road started at about 10:35 BST.

The centre does not house patients but is attached to the main hospital.

The Christie said the blaze was now contained but firefighters would stay at the site for a further 48 hours.

A small number of treatments have been postponed and some patients have been moved due to the smoke.

Five patients who were prepped and ready for medical procedures were taken to other parts of the site so their treatment could continue.

At the height of the blaze, 16 fire engines were at the scene and two aerial platforms were used.

Sections of Wilmslow Road and Cotton Lane have been closed and the research building, which houses a number of laboratories, has been cleared.

The BBC understands work had been taking place on the roof of the affected building.

Image source, Steve Allen
Image caption,
The fire involves the first floor plant room and roof space

The Christie is the cancer hospital for most of the North and part of the Midlands and treats about 40,000 patients a year.

Incident commander Jim Hutton, from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said the fire was "being brought under control".

"Crews continue to fight the fire and are doing a great job to tackle the fire, minimise damage and prevent the fire from spreading further," he said.

"There are no casualties and there is no need for the hospital to be evacuated."

The fire service also asked members of the public to avoid the area and for those living nearby to keep their windows closed.

Image caption,
The hospital said all staff and patients were safe

Nerette Navarro, a student carrying out cancer research at The Christie, was working in the building when the fire broke out.

"Either everything is burnt, smoke damaged or water damaged, so everything is lost," she said.

"I was doing some lab work in a small room and I could smell something bad, but I thought it was just the chemicals we use in that room.

"I left because I couldn't bear the smell and it was making me really dizzy, but then I was told there was a fire and we had to leave."

The centre is funded by Cancer Research UK, which spends about £22m a year on research in Manchester.

A spokesperson for Cancer Research UK said they were "awaiting further information from the emergency services about the extent of the damage caused by the fire".

Image source, Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
Image caption,
The fire is being brought under control

In a statement, the hospital confirmed the fire was on the roof, adding: "All the associated areas have been evacuated including any patient areas."

It said all patients and staff were safe.

It advised any patients attending the hospital for treatment to "attend as normal" and to access the site via the Palatine Road entrance.

The Christie

Image source, Manchester Fire Service
Image caption,
The hospital treats cancer patients from across most of the north of England
  • The Christie is the largest single-site cancer centre in Europe
  • It is rated as 'Outstanding' by the Quality Care Commission
  • The Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute is based within The University of Manchester and is core-funded by Cancer Research UK
  • A proton beam therapy centre is currently under construction at the hospital

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