Police seek clues to former hospital fire
Police are calling for information after the old Port Hedland Hospital was extensively damaged in an unexplained fire that tore through the abandoned building on Saturday morning.
Emergency services crews were alerted to the fire about 1.30am, with fire services and police from Port and South Hedland attending the incident.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services acting Pilbara district officer Aaron Barwick said about 10 per cent of the building was burnt.
Fast action by crews had contained the fire. Staff and volunteers who attended the incident had to take precautions because of asbestos throughout the building.
“We were concerned about asbestos in the premises so used our procedures to minimise exposure ... fortunately we had an easterly, which was blowing the smoke mainly out to sea,” Mr Barwick said.
Nearby residents were told to stay inside and keep their windows closed.
BHP Billiton supplied an appliance on request, with the Town of Port Hedland also providing water vehicles to assist. Hedland emergency services crews left the site about 11am on Sunday.
An environmental consultant will now assess the impact of a fire at the site.
A spokeswoman for the WA Country Health Service said there was no immediate danger posed by the asbestos but LandCorp, which manages the site, had called in an environmental consultant to assess the area.
Mr Barwick said the cost of the damage was estimated about $2 million.
Anyone with information should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.