Hatfield block of flats fire: Residents rescued as roof 'collapses'

Image source, Mark Gray
Image caption,
Emergency services asked people to avoid the area around Wellfield Road in the Hertfordshire town

Some 22 residents of retirement flats had to be rescued after a "significant fire" in its roof.

Emergency services were called to Ashley Court, Wellfield Road, in Hatfield, in the early hours, Hertfordshire Fire Service said.

Residents were evacuated from the flats, with two treated in hospital for "minor smoke inhalation", according to police.

Wellfield Road and Stockbreach Road remained closed.

Parts of the roof had collapsed.

Twelve engines attended to bring the fire under control and investigations were ongoing to determine the cause. Police said the fire had started in a laundry room.

Image source, Harpenden Fire
Image caption,
Twelve fire engines attended the scene, along with an aerial ladder platform
Image caption,
Damage spread across the roof

Darryl Keen, chief fire officer, said it was a "significant fire in the roof space of the building".

"A reception centre has been opened for everyone who has been affected by this fire," he said.

Image source, Mark Gray
Image caption,
An eyewitness said the roof had collapsed
Image caption,
Police said the fire had started "in a laundry room at Ashley Court"

Sanctuary manages the flats and described them as a "retirement scheme". The company said it was assisting the fire service with its investigation.

"Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this devastating incident and we are working closely with Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council to support the residents, including arranging emergency accommodation for any who cannot immediately return to their homes," a spokesman said.

Hertfordshire Age UK said it was urgently collecting men's and women's clothing of all sizes at its head office in Welwyn Garden City.

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