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

- BY KIM PILLING Fires · Disasters · Incidents · Bolton Wanderers F.C. · Bolton · Grenfell Tower · Manchester · Andrew Burnham · University of Bolton · Valeo · Beverley Hughes

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.”

 ??  ?? FIGHT­ING FLAMES: The Cube ac­com­mo­da­tion block houses more than 200 stu­dents at Bolton Univer­sity
FIGHT­ING FLAMES: The Cube ac­com­mo­da­tion block houses more than 200 stu­dents at Bolton Univer­sity

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK