Fears for victims after derelict cottages blaze in Luton

Firefighters had to search for possible victims of a derelict house blaze in Luton after reports that youths had been in the area.

Firefighters from Dunstable were called to the fire in two derelict buildings at Farley Hill on Newlands Road, Luton yesterday evening (Thursday 29 July).

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service had received a number of calls from the public about youths in the area and a fire on the site at around 6.35pm and dispatched two fire engines from Dunstable community fire station to the scene.

These arrived within minutes and discovered two semi-detached cottages alight. A further fire appliance from Stopsley attended and the Aerial Platform from Luton was also sent to support the firefighting efforts.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus to protect themselves against smoke and fumes fought the blaze using the Luton Aerial Platform, three fire jets and one hose reel. By 7.30pm the fire was under control and extinguished.

Firefighters then used ladders and thermal imaging cameras to assist their search of the property to ensure there were no casualties and none were found.

Group Commander Steve Humm, in charge of the incident, said: “The Luton Aerial Platform was extensively used to fight the fire and to search for potential casualties on the first floor using our Thermal Imaging Cameras as it was too unstable to insert our crews, who were wearing breathing apparatus due to the fumes.

“We have had a number of small fires on this site before and the buildings are now too dangerous to enter and we’d advise people to stay away from them. If anyone has information about the fire please contact the police or Crimestoppers.”

The fire caused 50% fire damage to the ground floor of the cottages and 100% damage to the first floor and the roofs of the buildings.

The cause of the fire was deliberate.

If you have any information about the cause of the fire please call Bedfordshire police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.