Patients and staff evacuated from Keech Hospice Care in Luton after fire in nearby field

PUBLISHED: 11:04 09 September 2016 | UPDATED: 11:04 09 September 2016

Fire crews tackled a field blaze last night and prevented it from spreading to Keech Hospice Care in Luton.

Fire crews tackled a field blaze last night and prevented it from spreading to Keech Hospice Care in Luton.


Staff and patients were evacuated from Keech Hospice Care last night after a 90-hectare fire in a nearby field.

Fire crews were called at about 5.20pm to tackle the blaze, which was in a stubble field in Underwood Close, Luton, that backed onto The Hospice site.

The fire, which was put out roughly two hours later, had spread to the boundary fence of the hospice, with patients and staff moved to the day centre at the front of the building as a safety precaution.

Hospice chief executive Liz Searle said: “I am extremely grateful for the quick response and excellent support of Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service and my staff.

“We do have emergency plans in place in events of situations like this and we followed our procedure. The Hospice is back functioning as normal today and all patients and staff are safe.

“KeechFest – our 25th celebration garden festival which is taking place at the hospice this Sunday is very much full steam ahead and we look forward to welcoming more than 1,500 members of the public to the hospice.”

Six fire engines, two multi role vehicles, two rural water carriers and the incident command unit were all involved in fighting the fire and firefighters used breathing apparatus, fire hoses and beaters to battle the blaze.

There were no casualties at the scene and it is believed that the fire was started accidentally.

Group commander Jason Tai said: “This was a large field fire that threatened the nearby houses and the Hospice.

“We split our resources into two sectors to prevent the fence fire becoming a danger to the Hospice while other firefighters tackled the stubble fire itself to get it under control so it did not threaten any other nearby properties.

“The incident was further complicated when The Hospice became compromised by smoke and the patients and staff had to be moved to the front of the hospice building.

“Our crews worked closely with our colleagues in the Ambulance Service and The Hospice staff to reassure the residents and their families and assisted in moving them back as soon as the area was deemed safe.

“Because the fire covered such a large area, at the height of the incident we were assisted by our police colleagues who used their helicopter to provide information to the crews about the movements of the fire, allowing us to relocate firefighters to meet the blaze head on and quickly bring it under control.

“Our firefighters worked hard and we called in our rural water carriers to keep them supplied with plenty of water during the incident.

“We got the fence fire under control quickly, protecting the Hospice from the fire, working to extinguish the field fire at the same time. I’d like to thank the crews for their hard work in dealing with this serious incident, they did an excellent job.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other The Comet visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by The Comet staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique The Comet account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Do you agree that we don’t spend enough time talking about death? Well you might do worse than head along to Stevenage’s first Death Cafe event on Monday.

Five teams of pupils from junior schools in the Stevenage area became university lecturers for the day when they took part in the annual Rotary Stevenage Speaks competition.

Yesterday, 19:18

A Biggleswade man has become the first person in Bedfordshire to be convicted of coercive and controlling behaviour after his ex-partner was subjected to ‘appalling’ attempts to take away her freedom by watching her every move.

Yesterday, 18:42

A Stevenage man who has previously been jailed is wanted by police for allegedly breaching the conditions of his parole.

Most read stories


Show Job Lists

Most commented stories

Digital Edition

Read the The Comet e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter