01 September 2014

Families had to be evacuated from a block of flats in Warrington, Cheshire, following a serious blaze which broke out on the first floor during the evening of 31st August..

Just after 8.45 pm the Service received reports of a fire in the block of flats and crews from Warrington went to the scene, where they found a well-developed fire in a first floor residence.

Two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus began tackling the fire with one hose reel jet and further fire engines were sent to the incident including a hydraulic platform. A fire break was also employed, to prevent the fire spreading further than it already had.

Ultimately, more than 20 firefighters were needed to bring the fire under control with crews drafted in from local fire stations to help the effort.

The cause of the blaze – which saw 10 flats evacuated last night – is still being investigated, but believed to be arson. Several of the flats were very badly damaged.

A spokesman from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “A total of 10 flats were evacuated at the height of the blaze, but it is expected that some residents will be allowed to return unless their property is directly affected.”

The spokesman also said that despite the fire being out they would remain at the scene well into the morning, damping down and checking the roof space for ‘hotspots’.

Commercial buildings, non-domestic and multi-occupancy premises in England and Wales are already forced to undertake a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.

While the overwhelming majority of premises do this, if the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.

Original sources

Cheshire Fire and Rescue

The Liverpool Echo