Patients Flee London Cancer Hospital Fire

Up to $1 billion in damages after blaze guts leading facility
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 3, 2008 8:35 AM CST
Emergency mattresses are carried to a local church where the patients have been moved to following a blaze at the Royal Marsden Hospital in central London Wednesday Jan. 2, 2008. Patients were evacuated...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A huge fire gutted one of the world's leading cancer hospitals yesterday, forcing up to 160 patients and 800 staff to evacuate and causing up to $1 billion in damages. London's Royal Marsden Hospital went up in flames after a small fire in a plant room spread through the building. Five operating theaters and two patients' wards have been greatly damaged, and the roof of the hospital has been destroyed.

Gordon Brown paid a visit this morning to a nearby hospital that is housing the patients, including six in intensive care. One pointed out that "there was no panic whatsoever," but several patients had to be laid on mattresses in the street during the evacuation. The Royal Marsden was the world's first hospital dedicated to oncology.