EXCLUSIVE: Three men arrested in connection with arson attack at St Crispin’s hospital in Northampton

Pic by Michael Caddy
Pic by Michael Caddy

Three people have been 
arrested on suspicion of 
arson following a large fire that severely damaged a former psychiatric hospital in Northampton.

More than 80 firefighters spent four hours battling a large blaze at the St Crispin’s Hospital site after a fire was reported shortly before 11pm on Wednesday night.

Yesterday, a police spokesman told the Chron three men, two aged 23, and one aged 20, have been arrested on suspicion of arson and released on bail. A woman, aged 20, has also been interviewed voluntarily.

The spokesman said: “Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances of how the former St Crispin’s Hospital was set alight on Wednesday, August 6. A number of people have been arrested and interviewed by detectives in connection with the fire, who are still appealing for anyone who may have any information about the incident to contact them.”

Fire investigators said the 19th-century building involved in the fire had been left “structurally unsafe” after it was extensively damaged by the blaze.

Terry Smith, incident commander, said: “The fire was under control by around 3am. The building is now unsafe.

“Our priority was to fire fight and stop it spreading to adjoining properties. We were very pleased with how it went. There were no injuries reported and the fire didn’t spread to adjoining buildings.”

The fire on Wednesday night was the second time in four days fire crews had been called out to St Crispin’s Hospital as two crews were called on Sunday, August 3 to deal with a small blaze on the site.

A meeting was held in Duston on Monday attended by a representative from the Northampton Arson Task Force, Northamptonshire Police and WN Developments, who have owned the site since 2009.

Northampton Borough Councillor Alan Bottwood, who attended the meeting, said the developers had agreed to bring a security guard back to protect the site from vandals.

He said: “This was inevitable. If it had not been for the quick and efficient work of the firefighters there was a danger the fire could have spread to nearby buildings.

“As fast as the perimeter fence is fixed the vandals find another place to get in. There are people accessing the site almost continuously.”

Witnesses or anyone with information about the St Crispin’s fire is asked to contact police on 101.