Po­lice seek clues to for­mer hospi­tal fire

Pilbara News - - News - Re­becca Parish

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.

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