London hospital evacuated for fire
Published: Wednesday, January 2, 2008 at 1:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 2, 2008 at 1:29 p.m.
LONDON - Fire ripped through a historic cancer hospital Wednesday, forcing patients and staff to flee into the cold streets of west London and sending clouds of smoke billowing across the capital's skyline.
No injuries were reported in the blaze at the Royal Marsden Hospital, although the 150-year-old building was severely damaged.
Several patients were placed in an ambulance area on mattresses, being tended by nurses who covered them with extra blankets to fend off the cold. Other patients wrapped in blankets were led in wheelchairs to safety. Officials said they did not immediately know how many patients were evacuated.
Seventy-five firefighters fought the blaze, which broke out on the top floor and was described by the London Fire Brigade as "very serious."
The Royal Marsden, located in London's Chelsea neighborhood, was the world's first hospital to be dedicated to the study and treatment of cancer, welcoming patients from around the world.
"It's unbelievable what would happen if it burned down. It would be a huge, huge step back for all the patients being treated there, and a huge, huge step back for cancer," said professor Ray Powles, former head of hemato-oncology at the hospital.
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