Northern Ireland

Patients moved in Altnagelvin Hospital fire

Altnagelvin hospital
Image caption Firefighters had to search five floors of the hospital during the operation

Twenty patients have been evacuated from their ward at Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry after a small electrical fire.

About 30 firefighters were called to the seventh floor of the tower block shortly before 22:00 GMT on Tuesday.

No-one was injured in the blaze, which started in an electrical switch room.

It took firefighters about two hours to bring it under control. The Western Health Trust has said that it is still assessing the extent of the damage.

Barry McDowell, district commander for the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS), said six fire appliances were used in the operation.

"We had to evacuate patients from the seventh and eighth floors and search floors six, seven, eight, nine and ten to ensure there was no fire spreading throughout the hospital," he said.

He added that although the fire was small it produced "very pungent smoke" and spread quickly.

Mr McDowell said there had been good co-operation between firefighters and hospital staff to ensure everyone was made safe.

A spokesperon for the Western Trust said the fire is not considered to be suspicious. All services at the hospital remain fully operational.

Director of Acute Services for the Western Trust, Mrs Geraldine Hillick said: "I would like to commend our staff within the hospital for their detection of the fire and their immediate response in dealing with this incident.

"The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service and Northern Ireland Ambulance colleagues must be thanked for dealing with the incident quickly and efficiently."