The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Operator of flats ‘committed to help fire probe’
Blaze: Questions over cladding’ s role in rapid spread
Firefighters remained last night at the scene of a blaze at a student accommodation block, as its operators said they are “committed to help” an inquiry which will probe the impact of cladding on its rapid spread.
The Cube building in Bolton, which houses more than 200 students at Bolton University, did not have the same type of cladding that combusted in the Grenfell Tower fire of 2017 and is fitted with high-pressure laminate (HPL) coloured panels.
Visiting the aftermath of the fire, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham raised concerns that people living in buildings with such cladding would be “very worried”.
Valeo Urban Student Life (USL), which manages The Cube for the private owners, said that Friday night’s fire started on the fourth floor and spread to the sixth floor.
The town centre complex, described as “luxury student accommodation”, consists of two blocks and only the rear block was damaged, said USL.
Witnesses said what appeared to be a small fire ripped across and upwards within minutes, “crawling up the cladding like it was nothing”.
Mobile phone video footage taken by one of the evacuated students showed firefighters tackling flames on the balcony of a flat on the fourth floor.
Paramedics treated two people at the scene for minor injuries – one rescued by crews using an aerial platform – after the blaze broke out at 8.30pm.
USL staff helped evacuate students to safety while firefighters worked through the night to extinguish the fire.
Greater Manchester deputy mayor Beverley Hughes said some of the firefighters involved had been through Grenfellinspired training one day before.
In a statement on its website, USL said: “Valeo USL is actively assisting the emergency services with their investigations into the blaze and is committed to help with any investigations and looks forward to understanding the outcome of those investigations and any lessons that can be learnt.”