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29Aug2017

Woman rescued after fire in high-rise block in Bedford

A woman has been treated for smoke inhalation after being rescued from a fire in a block of flats in Bedford according to ITV.com.

Firefighters were called to the 12-storey Beckett Court building on Thursday evening at shortly after 8pm and smoke was seen coming from the top of the building although the blaze was actually on the ground floor.

The high-rise building in Roise Street contains 68 flats.

A woman from the top floor of the building was treated by the ambulance service for the effects for breathing in smoke.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said the fire highlighted the importance of the ‘stay put’ message for residents of high-rise buildings.

A woman was treated for the effects of breathing in smoke in the fire in the block of flats in Bedford.
A woman was treated for the effects of breathing in smoke in the fire in the block of flats in Bedford. Credit: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Firefighters discovered that the fire was actually in a rubbish bin room on the ground floor.

The fire had caused smoke to rise through the refuse chutes into the building above and subsequently smoke logged floors six to 11.

The blaze was put out by just after 9pm.

Although smoke was seen coming out of the top of the building, the fire actually in a ground floor rubbish bin room.
Although smoke was seen coming out of the top of the building, the fire actually in a ground floor rubbish bin room. Credit: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

Four fire engines from Bedford, Kempston and Sandy were called to the scene along with the county’s aerial platform from Bedford Community Fire Station.

Group Commander Andy Draper from Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said:

“This incident shows the importance of our ‘stay put’ message. “Leaving your flat puts you at risk from smoke and fumes that we wear breathing apparatus to protect ourselves from.”

Four fire engines and an aerial platform were called to the scene in Beckett Court.
Four fire engines and an aerial platform were called to the scene in Beckett Court. Credit: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

“We were able to get the fire in the bin room under control quickly but smoke did travel around the building which we then cleared.

“Residential apartments are the safest place to be if the fire is not directly on the residents’ floor.

“In addition it also allows the emergency service clear access route around the building.

“So our message remains, in high rise incidents people should stay put in their flats unless told to leave by the emergency services.”

– ANDY DRAPER, BEDFORDSHIRE FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE

The fire was discovered in a rubbish bin area on the ground floor and is thought to be accidental.
The fire was discovered in a rubbish bin area on the ground floor and is thought to be accidental. Credit: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

The housing association which manages the flats, bpha, confirmed that smoke from the bin store did escape up a rubbish chute because a shutter had failed to close properly. The company said the issue has now been rectified.

Further tests are being carried out on all bin chute shutters and smoke tests will be carried out to check each floor and levels of smoke.

Sprinklers are due to be fitted in Beckett Court as part of planned programmes in November.

Fire safety checks are being carried following the blaze at Beckett Court in Bedford.
Fire safety checks are being carried following the blaze at Beckett Court in Bedford. Credit: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service

“We have not yet established exactly how the fire was started, bpha will continue to investigate the cause and take any necessary steps to prevent a similar incident happening again in the future.

“We would like to take this opportunity to remind all residents of the importance of fire safety and this highlights again the need to be vigilant and responsible when disposing of litter in communal rubbish chutes.”

– JULIE WITTICH, DIRECTOR OF SERVICE DELIVERY, BPHA

An initial investigation has revealed that the fire was started accidentally.

The fire service dealt with the incident within 90 minutes of the initial call-out.

An initial investigation has revealed that the fire was started accidentally.
An initial investigation has revealed that the fire was started accidentally. Credit: Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • 29 Aug, 2017
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  • block of flats, fire procedure, fire risk, fire risk assessment, fire risk assessments, fire safety, grenfell, News, Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order, stay put, tower fire,

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