Stoke & Staffordshire

Tamworth hospital: Suspect held over George Bryan Centre fire

The fire at the George Bryant Centre Image copyright Bradley Stokes
Image caption All patients and staff have been transferred to other centres, police say

A man has been arrested on suspicion of arson after a blaze broke out at a mental health centre in Staffordshire.

The 43-year-old, from Tamworth, was detained over the fire at the George Bryan Centre near the Sir Robert Peel Community Hospital in the town.

There were no reports of casualties in the fire, which broke out at about 20:50 GMT on Monday.

Staffordshire Police said all occupants and staff were evacuated from the centre.

Eighteen patients were on the west wing unit, which cares for adults who are acutely mentally ill, at the time of the blaze and have been moved to alternative locations.

A spokesman from Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT), which runs the centre, said the east wing remained occupied but this was subject to an "ongoing review".

Chief executive Neil Carr said it was "a traumatic and distressing event" and the trust would "ensure that all those affected receive whatever help and care they need".

Image copyright PA
Image caption The fire broke out at about 20:50 GMT on Monday

A voluntary female patient absconded during the commotion but was found soon afterwards, a police spokesman told the BBC.

The fire service said about 20 people were evacuated from the centre, in Plantation Lane, Mile Oak.

A Staffordshire fire service spokesman said "quite a lot of the building" had been involved in the blaze and an investigation was under way to determine the cause.

Ten crews from Staffordshire, West Midlands and Warwickshire fire services were deployed.

Image caption There were no reports of casualties in the fire

Firefighters are expected to remain at the scene for "some time" damping down and checking for hot spots.

Witness Bradley Stokes said the blaze could be seen from Tamworth town centre and he had "never seen anything like this before".

Christopher Pincher, the Conservative MP for Tamworth, tweeted that he was "very concerned" by the fire.

The centre shares a site with the community hospital, although the two buildings are not connected.

The community hospital is open as normal on Tuesday, University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Crews from three fire services were deployed

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