Fire team won’t rule out tower block arson attack
A PROBE into the cause of a devastating fire at a student block of flats has not ruled out foul play and is to examine footage which suggests the blaze started outside a door on a fourth floor landing, the M.E.N. has learned.
Social media footage shows the fire at The Cube in Bolton during its infancy outside a door of one apartment on a fourth floor deck access area.
It rapidly spread to the fourth and sixth floors, and appeared to consume parts of the controversial High Pressure Laminate (HPL) cladding system on the outside of the building.
Some 221 students were evacuated safely from building on Bradshawgate on Friday night. Two students were treated at the scene for minor injuries, one of whom who had to be rescued by firefighters from an aerial platform.
Fire service bosses say the swift response saved lives. An investigation into the cause, and how the fire spread so rapidly, is underway.
Fire service investigators will examine CCTV and social media footage, particularly camera phone footage which appears to show the fire starting on a fourth floor landing.
Sources have confirmed that deliberate ignition hasn’t been ruled out although an accidental cause will also be examined.
Footage from the scene appears to show burning debris falling from the top of the building.
The wider investigation will consider the evacuation, the rapid spread of the blaze as well as what caused it.
Like others, the building was inspected in 2017 and it found the insulation used behind the cladding did not comply with building regulations.
Although it does not have Aluminium Composite Material, which was banned after the tragedy at Grenfell, the building is fitted with High Pressure
Laminate (HPL). In July, the Government ruled HPL was safe if fitted properly with non-combustible insulation and wrote to housing associations and local authorities to identify which materials had been used on its highrise buildings.
Greater Manchester Major Burnham said the building had a cladding that ‘causes concern and raises issues that will now have to be addressed nationally.’
Urban Student Life, the company which manages the building, said in a statement: “The building is in two blocks with fire damage to the rear block only. The front block is not affected by fire damage.”
Crews examine the fire damage