10/05/2002 Entry: "Inferno"

This is the article that was in The Post from the last fire on Easter Monday 2002. The article is from Wednesday April 3.

Caption: It took 100 firefighters and 15 engines nearly seven hours to control the blaze

Fire crews battle through the night as flames engulf Cane Hill site again

By Susie Rowe

A raging inferno engulfed the derelict site that once housed Cane Hill Hospital on the Easter Monday night.

From 10pm onwards, over 100 fire-fighters and 15 fire engines from all over London were drafted in to assist at the site on Brighton Road Coulsdon.

They toiled until the early hours of the morning to bring the blaze under control and although they succceeded just before 3am, fire crews were still carrying out final safety checks at the scene seven hours later.

The incident caused mayhem for motorists heading back to work after the Bank Holiday, with some of the surrounding roads closed during the rush hour on Tuesday morning.

This was the latest in a series of serious blazes which have occured at the site in recent years, the last one in October 2001 and before that February 2001.

The former hospital which once treated up to 3000 mental patients at a time, has been empty since 1990 but vandals and trespassers occasionally get in the dilapidated building, which is set in several acres of overgrown ground.

A spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade said the whole of the building has been damaged and parts have collapsed as a result of the blaze.

They confirmed that no one had been injured in the blaze and the cause of the fire was being investigated by the Fire Investigation Unit.

© Andrew Tierney 1998-2002