A DEVASTATING fire took hold in a derelict hospital building, with six fire crews and police rushing to the scene.

Victoria House in Eign Street, Hereford, is a former hospital admin building. Emergency services were called to a raging fire with flames shooting from the roof of the building and smoke billowing out.

Hereford Times: Huge clouds of smoke billowed from the buildingHuge clouds of smoke billowed from the building (Image: Paul Rogers)

This is what we know so far, and how the incident unfolded.

Fire takes hold

The fire broke out in the late afternoon on Tuesday (March 26) with six fire engines and an aerial ladder platform used to bring the blaze under control.

At the height of the incident, police cordoned off the pavement outside the building as emergency services blocked a bus lane.

Hereford Times: Flames shot through the roofFlames shot through the roof (Image: Paul Rogers)

People gather to watch

The stench of smoke was hanging in the air around Eign Street, and the area was a hive of activity as bystanders gathered in the street to watch emergency services at work.

Hereford Times: Crowds gathered in Eign Street watching the building burnCrowds gathered in Eign Street watching the building burn (Image: Bridie Adams)

Firefighters tackle blaze

A spokesperson for the fire service said that crews were called from Hereford, Ewyas Harold, Fownhope, Leominster, Peterchurch, Ledbury and Worcester.

They sectorised the fire, fighting it with a total of eight jets and isolating gas and electrics to the building.

They eventually left the scene at around 11pm, returning to re-inspect it and check for hot spots at 3am and 7.45am the following morning.

Hereford Times: An aerial ladder platform was usedAn aerial ladder platform was used (Image: Bridie Adams)


A gaping hole remains in the roof where the ferocious fire tore through the structure. 

Hereford Times: The roof of the building is devastatedThe roof of the building is devastated (Image: Susan Tattersall)

Cause of the fire

At the time of writing on March 27, fire investigators have not yet confirmed the official cause of the fire.

But speculation was rife among bystanders at the scene, with many wondering how the derelict building caught fire.

The Hereford Times has also approached the police for comment on the cause.

Hereford Times: Police put a cordon in placePolice put a cordon in place (Image: Bridie Adams)


History of fire-ravaged building

This is not the first time Victoria House has burned, as there was a major blaze there in November 2021. Only a quick response from the fire service saved it from being completely destroyed.

The derelict building was last used as NHS offices, standing in front of what was the old Victoria Eye Hospital.

Ten years ago a developer wanted to build a retirement village of 40 apartments there but the plan foundered. It had already been empty for several years before then.

The main hospital building near the scene of today's fire closed when the new Hereford County Hospital opened in 2002. It was later converted to apartments.

The future of Victoria House now is as uncertain as ever.