Families evacuated in Christmas day blaze

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Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue staff had a busy Christmas Day afternoon after a fire broke out in a flat in St. Mathews Close, Luton.

The Fire Service responded to multiple calls at 1.20pm on Thursday 25th December about a fire near Butterfield Path, Luton. When the first two fire engines arrived five minutes later they found a flat on the second storey of a three storey building on fire.

They quickly requested two more fire appliances join them in tackling the blaze and, when it was thought there were people still in the building and the roof was alight, two more fire engines were sent along with the aerial platform and the Incident Control Centre.

Fortunately all those in the flat and the building were accounted for by 2.30pm and 14 people were evacuated. Firefighters tackling the blaze used two jets, two covering jets and two hose reels. They used eight breathing apparatus and employed Positive Pressure Ventilation and thermal imagining cameras to aid them in extinguishing it.

The fire was put out by 4.30pm and caused 100% damage to the flat and to the roof. Another flat suffered from water damage. Following concerns about the safety of the building some flats were evacuated and the council called in to assess them. A fire inspection took place at 7pm to insure the fire was completely extinguished and the building safe, people were allowed to return to their flats by 8pm. A fire investigation is also underway into the cause of the fire which is not being treated as suspicious.

Paul Fuller, Chief Fire Officer, who attended the fire and directed the efforts of firefighters, said: “I’m pleased that despite the damage no one was hurt in this fire. Our firefighters did an excellent job bringing the fire under control quickly to prevent it spreading further.

“It is still a terrible tragedy for everyone evolved, but even more so on Christmas Day and our sympathies are with everyone effected.

“Bedfordshire Fire Service is a 24/7 operation and we are there to protect the public whenever we’re needed, even on Christmas Day. We had a busy day and I’d like to thank all our firefighters and staff for doing such a good job today.”