Rough sleepers rescued in Luton blaze

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Four rough sleepers were rescued from a burning building by firefighters yesterday (Tuesday).

Firefighters from Luton Community Fire Station were called to a fire in student accommodation in Vicarage Street, Luton at 4.32pm. When they arrived five minutes later they found there was a fire on the top floor of a four storey building.

Because of the high-rise nature of the building they called for support from the Luton Aerial Platform and other fire appliances. In all Firefighters from Luton, Dunstable, Stopsey, Leighton Buzzard and on-call Firefighters from Ampthill and Shefford helped fight the fire. The Incident Command Unit from Leighton Buzzard was sent to the scene to co-ordinate their efforts.

Firefighters led four people, believed to be rough sleepers, to safety as they fought the fire which started in the kitchen of the building. They used 13 sets of breathing apparatus to protect themselves from the smoke and fumes and used one fire jet, one fire hose, four thermal imaging cameras and small tools to fight the fire.

The fire caused 25% damage to the kitchen and roof of the building and the roof was 100% affected by smoke.

Just two minutes after Fire Control received the call to Vicarage Street, they were alerted by an automatic fire alarm to a fire in another high-rise building in the town, in the six storey building at Spandow Court, Elizabeth Street, Luton.

Firefighters from Dunstable, Toddington, Leighton Buzzard, and over the border from Markyate were sent to the incident, supported by Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue’s second Aerial Platform, based in Bedford.

When the first fire engine arrived they found there was a fire in the kitchen of a sixth floor flat. Firefighters fought the fire wearing breathing apparatus to protect themselves against smoke and fumes and extinguished it using three water jets.

> Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service dealt with 93 incidents over the Christmas period .

These includedthe serious fires in Luton and a major Road Traffic Collision on the M1 on Christmas Eve which involved thirteen people, including four children.

A critically injured man had to be cut from his car before being transported to hospital.

The motorway was closed between junctions 12/13 for several hours while emergency services cleared the carriageway.