More than two dozen firefighters from Cosham, Southsea and Havant were called to a seven story block of flats in Portsmouth on Saturday evening, after fire broke out in a first floor stairwell, trapping many of the residents inside. Two people were rescued from the roof by ladder and one person was taken to hospital for treatment after inhaling the smoke.
The privately owned building containing 39 flats, quickly filled with thick, black smoke after the fire broke out. Firefighters used breathing apparatus in order to enter the building and lead the trapped residents to safety – two hose reels, 10 breathing apparatus and positive pressure ventilation were used to tackle the fire. The emergency call was recorded at 20.40 and the incident was reported closed at 23.16.
The cause of the blaze is unknown and is currently being investigated by both the fire service and the police.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service's spokesman Gary Elston told the BBC: "One person needed hospital treatment, but without the swift action of the responding crews this number could have been a lot higher."
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.