Patient sets fire to hospital bed with lighter

The Causeway Hospital in Coleraine
The Causeway Hospital in Coleraine

Fire crews were tasked to the Causeway Hospital in the early hours of Sunday morning, after an elderly man accidentally set fire to his bed.

The fire broke out in hospital’s Medical One ward at 4.30am.

Sixteen patients in the ward had to be evacuated as a result of the incident, none of them were injured.

A spokesperson for the Northern Trust confirmed that the ward was closed for sometime on Sunday to allow for a deep clean, and that no damage was caused to the hospital ward as a result of the incident.

It is believed the patient, who is understood to have been in his 70s, was in a confused state, when he set fire to his bedclothes whilst playing with a lighter.

The man sustained some burns to his hand during the incident.

Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service area commander Paul Coyle praised the quick thinking actions of a patient in the ward who alerted staff to what was happening.

The Commander said: “We got a call at about 5.30am on Saturday.

“However, by the time the crew arrived, the fire had already been extinguished.

“I think that was down to the fast actions by the staff in the hospital after the patient in the next bed quickly alerted staff to what was happening.

“The room itself was filled with smoke and the crew employed ventilations measures to clear the area.

“There were also some concerns regarding oxygen tanks so we liaised with hospital staff to isolate the supply and ensure it was safe.”

A spokeswoman from the Northern Health & Social Care Trust said on Sunday: “In the early hours of Saturday morning, a patient was brought up from the emergency department in a slightly confused state.

“He set fire to his bedclothes and a nurse raised the alarm.

“Sixteen patients were successfully evacuated.There was no structural damage but there was a lot of smoke.

“A deep clean was carried out in the ward and opened again today.”