• Several wards evacuated after fire detected in unoccupied ward
  • Trust says clinical services have not suffered ongoing disruption

An East Midlands trust had to evacuate several wards of patients on Friday night after a faulty refrigerator caught fire.

University Hospitals of Leicester Trust confirmed a “small fire” broke out on an unoccupied ward undergoing construction work at approximately 6pm, after which it declared a critical incident.

Nigel Bond, deputy director of estates and facilities at UHL, said the fire broke out on level five of the Balmoral Building at Leicester Royal Infirmary.

“The fire was contained completely within the kitchen area of the ward, leaving the rest of the ward unaffected,” Mr Bond said. “The cause of the fire was a faulty refrigerator unit which remains under investigation, not the construction work.”

 The trust temporarily evacuated “several wards” as a precaution and it said “every effort was made to ensure patient safety”.

Mr Bond said, as the kitchen was designed to compartmentalise the fire, it did not spread and affect further areas of the hospital.

“No clinical services have suffered ongoing disruption and we would like to thank all of our staff for their swift actions in evacuating patients, caring for them, and returning them to their wards once the fire was dealt with,” he said.

On Friday, the trust sent out messages asking people not to attend the accident and emergency department unless necessary.