Emergency crews have descended on the Staffordshire hospital’s George Bryan Centre, which treats people with mental health issues
A huge fire has broken out at a Staffordshire hospital’s mental health unit, with smoke and flames billowing for miles.
One of the patients is understood to have fled from the scene during the blaze which started around 9pm tonight.
Emergency crews have descended on the George Bryan Centre next to the Sir Robert Peel Hospital in Mile Oak, Tamworth.
The NHS centre, opposite the A&E department, gives medical treatment to people with mental health issues.
Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service confirmed 10 fire engines are at the scene and described it as a “severe” and “complicated situation”.
Dramatic footage shows huge flames engulfing the roof of a building.
A witness at the scene, who did not wish to be named, told Mirror Online that a woman was earlier seen screaming in the road.
The witness recalled: “I came home and my brother told me there was a fire at the hospital.
“I ran down there to see what was happening. The first thing I saw was that the fire was spreading through the roof.
“There were two fire engines when I first arrived at about 10 past 9 and no road block.
It is now twenty five past 10, and there are around 15 fire engines at the scene. And a road block is in place.
“I was stood just near a set of traffic lights and I could still feel the heat from across the road.”
They continued: “Before I arrived, some people at the scene said police had attended a woman who had been running in the road screaming.
I saw the fire crews going into the back of the building, which is sort of U-shaped. But it looked like the fire was spreading from that direction.
“Ambulance are also in attendance, and forensics have set up a table here too.
“The fire completely spread through the roof, but it seems like fire crews are getting it under control.
They have blocked off the footpath and all the main roads in and out of the hospital with police tape.”
According to a statement 11 occupants and staff were evacuated from the centre and were being transferred to local medical centres.
Freelance journalist Bradley Stokes, 24, who lives in the area said the building has been “destroyed” but the nearby A&E centre escaped the flames.
He said: “For a small town like this I’ve never seen anything as dramatic as this. It’s taken me by surprise.
“There are around 30 or 40 people here and we are being kept 50-100 yards away.”
He added: “Police have said no one has been injured.
“The flames seem to have gone down from when I first arrived. It was really quite bad when I first got here.”
A spokesman from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service said there are reports of one of the patients absconding during the commotion caused by the blaze.
He added that the fire has spread through the roof of the building, saying it was “severe” with “quite a lot of the building involved”.
“We’re trying to sacrifice part of the building and let that burn to prevent it from spreading to the rest of the hospital,” he added.
He said local fire crews were being supported by teams from West Midlands Fire Service and Warwickshire Fire Service.
Twitter users also expressed their shock at the blaze, with one user saying: “Not good news since they are facing cuts in recent months.”
Another added: “Thoughts with all concerned. Hope no one hurt.
Looks massive the fire. I did so much work to keep this service open with the trust. Very concerning and yet another fire in Tamworth.”
In 2017 it was feared the centre would be shut down following a shake-up of healthcare services in the area. Hundreds of people signed an online petition to keep it open, reports Birmingham Live.
The South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Trust did not want to comment on tonight’s incident.
A third shocked Twitter user said: “Thinking of everyone at Sir Robert Peel hospital tonight, hope everyone is safe and I am sure the emergency services yet again will serve our community well.”
On the CQC website, the George Bryan Centre states that it specialises in “assessment or medical treatment for persons detained under the 1983 Act.
Caring for people whose rights are restricted under the Mental Health Act.
“Dementia, Diagnostic and screening procedures, Mental health conditions, Treatment of disease, disorder or injury, Caring for adults under 65 yrs, Caring for adults over 65 yrs.”
A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: “Officers are currently working in partnership with colleagues from Staffordshire Fire Service and West Midlands Ambulance Service at the scene of a fire at the George Bryan Medical Centre in Tamworth.
“There are no reported casualties. All occupants and staff have been evacuated from the centre and are being transferred to other local medical centres.
The area remains closed whilst the fire service continue to control the fire.
“We were called at 9.15pm this evening to the centre on Plantation Lane, Mile Oak.
“Witnesses or anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting 796 of 11 February 2019.”