'Suspicious' fire at Tweed Hospital

A FULL investigation is under way into a fire that broke out in the mental health unit at The Tweed Hospital on Sunday night.

Police are treating the fire, which began in a ceiling space above a toilet and left the hospital with minor damage, as suspicious.

Yesterday Tweed Heads firefighters and police said paper appeared to have been stuffed into the ceiling cavity and set alight.

But a North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) spokesperson could not confirm whether the fire had been deliberately lit.

“There is no evidence as to how it started or who did it,” she said.

The hospital is now carrying out a “full investigation” into how the fire began.

“They are looking at a number of recommendations to ensure it doesn't happen again.”

Tweed Heads firefighters were called to the hospital at 6pm, and again at 8pm, after its smoke alarms were activated.

“The source was identified in the ceiling space above a toilet and was immediately extinguished, having caused only minor damage within the ceiling,” the NCAHS spokesperson said.

“On both occasions the fire alarms activated appropriately, procedures were followed efficiently and effectively with the patients in the vicinity prepared for evacuation.

“On neither occasion was evacuation of the area required, nor was the safety of any patients compromised.”

She said while the hospital was a non-smoking area, patients often brought their own cigarettes and lighters and could smoke in designated outdoor areas.

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