Firefighters demolish heritage psychiatric hospital building | CBC News

A fire at the former London Psychiatric Hospital had firefighters working for hours to salvage the former recreation building on the vacant property Saturday. 

Crews were called to the Highbury Avenue site in the early evening and went into a “defensive strategy” mode to fight the fire with water from the exterior. 

Several hours later, firefighters said the structural integrity of the heritage building was compromised and the roof had fallen into the building. 

This is not the first fire at the location. The most recent involved the Chapel of Hope, one of the oldest of four heritage buildings on the property, and while it was deemed suspicious, a suspect was never located. 

In 2000, the City of London gave the London Psychiatric Hospital site heritage designation. Some of the buildings, such as the Chapel of Hope, were built in the late 1800s by patients.

The province sold the land in 2019 to London’s Old Oak properties for $17 million, paving the way for development of the 160-acre property. Demolition and construction is underway for development. 

Firefighters said Saturday that an excavator was needed to pull apart the building. The cause of the fire was still unknown but investigators were on the scene Saturday to evaluate the nature of the fire. 

This is not the first fire at the former London Psychiatric Hospital. In 2022, the Chapel of Hope was set ablaze. (London Fire Department)

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