AN investigation is due to be launched following a fire at the old hospital tower block on the site of the Cumberland Infirmary. 

Crews from Carlisle's east and west fire stations were alerted in the early hours of this morning and spotted a small fire on the upper level of the building, which is currently being demolished to make way for a new £35m cancer centre.

They were called at 4.45am and were at the scene for a couple of hours. A main jet and ground monitor were used to extinguish the fire which was difficult to reach. 

A spokeswoman for North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We can confirm there has been a small fire on the site of the old tower block building at the Cumberland infirmary which is currently being demolished.

"Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service attended and nobody has been hurt. 

"We will now work with our contractors to investigate the incident and we would like to remind people not to enter the demolition site."

The redundant 1960s tower block building has stood empty for years. It was condemned shortly after Storm Desmond in 2015, when excessive rain penetrated the building and electrics, and has long been regarded as a local eyesore.

Work began in January to demolish the building. This was due to be completed by the end of April, with construction for the new, ultra-modern centre starting in the summer.

Due to open in summer 2021, it will house new technology and bring radiotherapy and chemotherapy services - which are currently in separate parts of the infirmary site - together.