Man held on suspicion of arson as firefighters tackle huge blaze at mental health hospital

Telegraph Reporters
Flames can be seen engulfing a building at the Sir Robert Peel Hospital - Radio Tamworth 

A man has been detained on suspicion of arson after a fire ripped through a mental health facility.

The 43-year-old was held as firefighters tackled the "severe" blaze which broke out at the George Bryan Medical Centre, near the Sir Robert Peel Community Hospital in Tamworth, on Monday night.

Images showed flames and smoke billowing from the building's roof, part of which appeared to have fallen in.

Staffordshire Police said a suspect, from Tamworth, had been detained and appealed for information from witnesses.

A spokesman from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) earlier said there had been reports of one of the patients absconding during the commotion caused by the blaze.

When contacted on Tuesday morning, police and fire officials were unable to confirm if any missing patient had been located.

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

"I very much hope that there are no injuries and wish all the best to our local fire crews, Police and emergency services," he wrote on Twitter.

SFRS said it was first called to reports of fire at the hospital at 8.52pm.

Some 10 crews from Staffordshire, West Midlands and Warwickshire fire services were deployed as fire took hold at the facility, prompting the evacuation of nearly a dozen occupants and staff.

A spokesman from SFRS said that there was "quite a lot of the building involved" in the blaze.

"We're trying to sacrifice part of the building and let that burn to prevent it from spreading to the rest of the hospital," he added.

Staffordshire Police said they were called to the incident at 9.15pm. There are no reported casualties.

The force said 11 occupants and staff were evacuated from the centre and were being transferred to other local medical centres.

The George Bryan Centre shares a site with the Sir Robert Peel Community Hospital in the Mile Oak area of Tamworth, although the two buildings are not connected.

The facility is run by the Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and provides mental health services for adults, including acute care under the Mental Health Act.

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