Fire rips through derelict hospital site in Northampton

Fire at St Crispin Psychiatric Hospital Image copyright @markkidsley
Image caption The blaze at the former St Crispin Psychiatric Hospital started at about 23:00 BST

A huge blaze has ripped through a derelict hospital in Northampton.

Flames were spotted coming out of the former St Crispin Psychiatric Hospital on Berrywood Road just before 23:00 BST on Wednesday.

At its height, more than 80 firefighters tackled the blaze. Only two crews now remain on site.

People living nearby were evacuated from the area but were later allowed to return home. It is not yet known how the blaze began.

Image copyright Keith Hall
Image caption At the height of the blaze more than 80 firefighters tackled the flames
Image copyright Deb James
Image caption Some nearby residents had to be evacuated from the area
Image copyright @W31JMW
Image caption People were told to keep their doors and windows closed during the night due to the smoke
Image caption Firefighters remain on the scene damping down after the blaze

Kelvin Hallen, from Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "It was quite a difficult task as there are lots of surrounding properties.

"Our priority was to safeguard those people so we had to carry out a wide-scale and swift evacuation."

'Cracking and popping'

It is not thought anyone was inside the building at the time of the fire, and police were carrying out an investigation into the cause, he said.

Image caption The hospital was derelict and it is not thought anyone was inside when the fire started

One resident said: "We heard lots of cracking and popping at about 11 o'clock. We went out in our pyjamas which everyone was doing.

"The timbers were well alight and flames were shooting up. We could see them above the trees."

Image copyright Burgess Von Thunen
Image caption The hospital opened in 1876 and was closed in 1995

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