A MAN has been arrested for arson after a huge fire ripped through a hospital in Staffordshire.

Devastating flames have engulfed a building at Sir Robert Peel Hospital in Tamworth.

Plumes of thick smoke are billowing over nearby roads and buildings as firefighters spend hours battling the blaze.

The fire erupted in the George Bryan Centre - where people are treated for mental health issues.

Patients were evacuated to neighbouring medical centres with some losing all of their personal possessions in the inferno.

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue said one mental health patient fled the scene - with witness reports claiming a woman was seen running down a nearby street screaming.

One man told the Mirror: "I was stood just near a set of traffic lights and I could still feel the heat from across the road.

Some people at the scene said police had attended a woman who had been running in the road screaming.

"Before I arrived, some people at the scene said police had attended a woman who had been running in the road screaming."

Cops confirmed this morning that one suspect had been arrested in relation to the blaze.

A spokesman said: "A 43-year-old man, from Tamworth, has been detained on suspicion of arson in connection with a fire at the George Bryan Medical Centre in Tamworth last night."

A fire and rescue spokesman said the blaze had spread through the roof of the facility and it was "severe'' with "quite a lot of the building involved''.

Witnesses spoke of "chaos" as flames towered over the local area.

Bradley Stokes, 24, told The Sun Online: "I ran down and it was worse than I imagined. I could see it from the town centre, I live half a mile away and I could still see the flames.

"There were 40 or more people here - it was chaotic and the flames were huge."

Tara, 34, said: "My mum has been a patient here for the last month due to mental health issues, she was in the west wing where the fire happened.

"All the staff and patients are fine but she’s really upset because all her stuff has burnt. She’s really distressed."

I ran down and it was worse than I imagined... it was chaotic and the flames were huge.

Callum Horne, 22, said: "I was playing football at Rawlett School, which is about three miles away, and we could see flames from there."

Locals have taken to Twitter to express their concern.

One man wrote: "Shocking scenes. Tamworth’s only mental health provider on fire. Hope everything’s okay."

Another poster said: Shocked to read of the fire at #Tamworth hospital #mentalhealth unit. Here’s hoping all are safe."

One man wrote: "Fire at tamworth mental hospital, sending prayers."

Staffordshire Police confirmed no one was hurt in the fire last night.

A spokesman said: "Officers are currently working in partnership with colleagues from Staffordshire Fire Service and West Midlands Ambulance Service at the scene of a fire at the George Bryan Medical Centre in Tamworth. There are no reported casualties.

"All occupants and staff have been evacuated from the centre and are being transferred to other local medical centres.

"The area remains closed whilst the fire service continue to control the fire.

"We were called at 9.15pm this evening to the centre on Plantation Lane, Mile Oak.