A man has been arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life following a fire at a major NHS hospital.

Patients had to be evacuated from the Royal Stoke University Hospital in their beds on Wednesday after the fire started around 6pm. The hospital is run by University Hospital of North Midlands Trust.

uhnm fire 3

uhnm fire 3

Source: Paul Bradbury

Patients waited in their beds and on mattresses outside the hospital

Staffordshire Police have confirmed it had arrested a 39 year old man in Manchester yesterday after an investigation by the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service determined the fire in the main building was started deliberately.

During the evacuation patients were forced to wait in their beds outside the building with some lying on mattresses on the ground.

One patient’s relative, whose aunt was being evacuated, reported still being in the building more than an hour after the fire alarm sounded.

Trust medical director John Oxtoby said: “The trust will be carrying a full review of the major incident and the lessons will be shared publicly.”

A police spokeswoman said: “The man, who was detained in Manchester, has been arrested on suspicion of committing arson with intent to endanger life at the Royal Stoke University Hospital and Staffordshire University’s Beacon building in College Road, Stoke-on-Trent.

“Fire broke out at the hospital’s main building at around 6pm Wednesday evening. Patients had to be temporarily evacuated. Earlier in the evening at around 4.45pm fire broke out in toilets at Staffordshire University.”