Elderly woman dies in fire at hospital building


A 75-year-old woman has died following a blaze in a £44m hospital building that opened less than two years ago.

The patient, who has not been named, was on the ground floor of the Royal Victoria Building at the Western General Hospital, Edinburgh.

Firefighters were alerted by an automatic fire alarm which went off at around 2.30 yesterday (Fri) morning.


RVB @ Edinburgh Western General
The Royal Victoria Building at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh


The fire, which happened in a single room, was put out before it could spread to the rest of the ward.

Thirteen elderly patients had to be evacuated to another ward.

Police, the fire service and NHS Lothian are now investigating what caused the blaze.

Visitors and patients to the Western General expressed shock yesterday.

One, who did not wish to be named, said “You’d have thought there would have been some warning. Surely there would have been sprinklers. In a hospital, you don’t expect that.

“The person who died, the family are going to want to know why.”

Scott Somerville, 57, from Dalkeith, said: “We’re shocked, especially as it’s in a hospital. You don’t expect that.”

Gordon Todd, 76, from Penicuik, Midlothian, said: “If you get any incidents in a hospital it’s always concerning. I would imagine the health and safety was pretty good before they opened it.”


The building is only two years old


Melanie Johnson, a director at NHS Lothian, said: “We can confirm a fire occurred in part of one ward at the Royal Victoria Building during the course of the night.

“Sadly a female patient has died and our thoughts are with her family at this time. We are assisting the emergency services with their investigations.

“Staff responded quickly and followed well-rehearsed protocols. A small number of patients were transferred temporarily to an adjoining ward before returning after around an hour.”

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service confirmed that they were alerted by an automatic alarm at their control room.

She said fire engines from three stations were sent to the scene and that two firefighters wearing breathing masks tackled the fire and evacuated the casualty.
“Fire Investigation Unit officers along with Police Scotland officers are working together to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident,” she said.

The Royal Victoria Building (RVB) at the Western General Hospital opened on 5 February 2013 and cost around £43.6 million.

The building specialises in elderly care, dermatology and rheumatology and consists of 6 wards, an assessment and rehabilitation centre for day and outpatients, three modern physiotherapy gyms and a specially designed courtyard garden.