Huntingdon flats fire may have started on terrace

Elm Tree Court in Huntingdon. Picture: ARCHANT

Elm Tree Court in Huntingdon. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A blaze which caused the evacuation of a block of retirement flats in Huntingdon is believed to have started on a resident’s terrace, the operators of the building have said.

An investigation into the cause of the fire, which broke out just before 10.30pm on Friday, is still being carried out by the fire service.

Thirty-two people, many in their night clothes, were evacuated unhurt from Elm Tree Court during the incident and have been found temporary accommodation.

Around 50 firefighters from across Cambridgeshire tackled the blaze and used a Multistar aerial platform to gain access to the roof of the building where the fire had spread from a terrace on the upper floor.

A spokesman for McCarthy and Stone, which operates the building, said: “We understand the fire started on a homeowner’s terrace near the communal areas on the upper floor of the four storey building and then spread to the roof.

“We will continue to work with the fire service to determine the precise cause of the fire as their investigation continues this week.”

The flats, on the ring road and close to the town’s police station, opened about 18 months ago on the site of the former Territorial pub. There are 26 flats, two of which are vacant.

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The spokesman said: “We can confirm that there was a fire at Elm Tree Court in Huntingdon on the evening of 22 June 2018. The fire service and police were called at 22.25 and the fire was put out by 01:41.

“Our primary concern is the safety of our homeowners and we can confirm that no-one was injured and all residents were evacuated safely.”

“Our senior management team will remain on-site all week providing all the necessary support for our homeowners, who are currently staying temporarily in local hotels, residential homes, or with family.

“There is fire damage on the third and fourth floors, along with water damage; however it is becoming increasingly clear that there has been no major damage to any of the homeowners’ apartments.

A fire service spokesman said an investigation into the cause of the blaze was under way.

“Around 50 firefighters, including crews from Huntingdon, Chatteris, Yaxley, St Neots, Papworth, Stanground, Dogsthorpe and Cambridge,including the Mulitstar aerial appliance, attended the scene” the spokesman said.

“Firefighters arrived to find a fire on top floor of a four story building, which had spread to the roof. All residents were safely evacuated with the assistance of police officers. Everyone was accounted for and there were no reported casualties.”

The spokesman added: “Wearing breathing apparatus, the crews extinguished the fire using hose reels and jets and checked the rest of the building for hot spots. The crews returned to their stations by 3.35am.”