Fire at derelict former hospital site in Thetford
- Credit: Archant
Neighbours of a derelict former hospital have called for 'something to be done' after firefighters tackled a blaze for three hours.
Six pumps from Norfolk and Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service were called to the old Cottage Hospital in Earls Street at around 2.30pm on Saturday.
Four crews remained until 5.30pm, having dealt with two small fires lit at the front and back of the building.
Firefighters carried out searches of the ground and first floors, according to a spokesman for Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service.
The blaze was spotted by passer-by Steve Wright, who quickly called 999.
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He said: 'We had just left Thetford Snooker Club and could smell smoke as we came out of the door.
'I looked up at the window of the old hospital and saw black smoke pouring out, with the window smashed,' he said.
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Police and ambulance services are also on the scene, with the bottom of Earls Street closing to traffic.
No one was found inside the building, following checks by the fire service.
Three pumps were initially called to the scene, with three more called after an investigation of the fire.
The former hospital building has been out of use since 2006, with the NHS selling it to a private owner in 2010.
Neighbours have since complained it has become a danger, with one saying the fire was 'an accident waiting to happen'.
One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: 'We see kids going in and out of there all the time, doing drugs and we have had squatters in there too.
'It's full of rats which have spread to a few of the houses here and there's a huge tree which has got overgrown and blocks all our light.
'Someone needs to do something with it because it's a real eyesore and a big risk,' she said.