Staff at a hospice in St Leonards have been left shocked and upset after a fire broke out in the earlier hours of this morning (Jully 11).
Emergency services were called to a blaze at St Michael’s Hospice, in Upper Maze Hill, at around 1am.
On arrival crews deemed the incident to be a ‘major incident’ and are now treating the fire as ‘suspicious’ with a criminal investigation currently underway.
A spokesperson for the hospice said: “It is a really big shock. All the staff at the hospice are very upset.
“The staff did an absolutely amazing job in evacuating everyone. We were really pleased with how they handled it especially as it was in the middle of the night.”
In total 23 terminally ill patients were evacuated from the building along with nine members of staff.
Alternative accommodation has been provided for those evacuated and staff are currently with patients to give extra care and support.
Since the blaze many people and business have offered their support for the hospice, which is run entirely on donations.
National supermarket chain Tesco has donated food to the hospice whilst care homes including Leolyn Care Home, Park Beck and Bannow Retirement Home have taken in residents over night.
Ten patients were also sent to Conquest Hospital, some of which were suffering from smoke inhalation whilst others were sent as an alternative means of accommodation.
The spokesperson added: “We would like to say a massive thank you to everyone supporting us at the moment. Our thoughts are with the patients and the staff who were there at the time.”
The hospice is now waiting for the all clear from emergency services before allowing patients back into the building.
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