Sanatorium Blaze

Fire at Benenden Hospital in December 1925

A fire at the Hospital on Tuesday 15 December 1925 caused destruction to the East Wing of Garland. At the time of the outbreak, there were thirty-three patients in the East Wing and the local newspaper reported that ‘prompt action from the Medical Superintendent Dr Spurrier resulted in all patients escaping uninjured’.

The fire was discovered by Mr Dedman, a patient, at about 9.45 pm. The fire had originated in the roof and was thought to be due to overheating of the chimney stack or fusing of wires.

The Tenterden, Cranbrook and Hawkhurst Fire Brigades attended and patients and staff all helped to control the flames and minimise the damage.

It was reported as the coldest day of the year, with temperatures at -18 degrees. The water froze in the hose when they were not in  us and icicles were hanging from the blackened rafters by dawn. The Superintendent of the Hawkhurst Fire Brigade stated that ‘the water froze on his men as it was blown back on them from the hose pipes and after the fire, the main hose-pipe became frozen as a stiff pole’.



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