The Fire Service has stopped a fire from ripping through Timaru Hospital.

It was called to the scene on Queen St at 12.15 to reports of flames in the top floors of the hospital.

Fire Service spokesman Riwai Grace says fortunately multiple extinguishers were able to stop the fire spreading.

He says the fire started in a sterilising machine in the Intensive Care Unit.

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Some patients had to be evacuated as a precaution.

Fire units are still on the scene clearing lingering smoke.