EMERGENCY services raced to a Winchester hospital after an automatic fire alarm was triggered in the Intensive Care Unit.

Fire crews, in seven engines were dispatched to the scene at Royal Hampshire County Hospital this morning.

On arrival fire crews a small fire in an electrical cupboard effecting the Wainwright Ward and Critical Care, which make up the hospital's intensive care and high dependency units.

18 patients were evacuated from the area to another part of the building while firefighters tackled the fire. 

The fire was swiftly extinguished, with the all clear given less than half an hour later after crews put out the flames with an extinguisher.

Crews also used two sets of breathing apparatus as a precaution while putting out the fire.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital, Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester, and Andover War Memorial Hospital, said: “I can confirm that Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to attend an incident at Royal Hampshire County Hospital this morning.

“The problem, which it is thought was caused by an electrical fault, led to us quickly and successfully evacuating patients and staff from two areas. No injuries were suffered as a result of the incident and there was no clinical impact on the patients who were evacuated.

“The incident was quickly contained by officers from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and all patients returned to the affected wards as soon as it was deemed safe for them to do so. I’d like to thank everyone involved from Hampshire Hospitals, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and Hampshire Constabulary for their help.”