Man, 75, feared dead after fire at sheltered flat in Pategill

Lonsdale Court
Image caption Neighbouring properties - including elderly people from sheltered accommodation - had to leave their homes and were sheltering in Penrith Leisure Centre

An elderly man is feared dead after a huge fire ripped through a sheltered home in Cumbria.

Around 30 elderly and vulnerable people were led to safety during the blaze in Lonsdale Court, in Pategill, Penrith, which started at about 09:40 GMT.

The 75-year-old man, who lived in the flat, has not been seen since the blaze broke out and Cumbria Police said it was unlikely he had survived.

The cause of the blaze is being investigated.

Residents have been relocated temporarily to Penrith Leisure Centre, Cumbria Police said.

Leisure centre bosses tweeted appealing for warm clothes.

All other occupants of the flats have been accounted for and were unharmed by the fire.

'Community spirit'

Insp Kim Brennand of Cumbria police, said: "This has been a very distressing day for the residents of Lonsdale Court.

"The search will continue for the man who has not yet been located, however sadly all indications at present are that he will not have survived the fire and subsequent structural damage to the building.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their outstanding support today. We have been overwhelmed with how many people and businesses have come forward to help."

She said local people, as well as supermarkets and a garage, had been helping out bringing hot drinks, food and blankets for those forced to leave their homes.

"Penrith Leisure Centre has been exemplary in their work and support; carers have been coming in on their days off and during lunchtimes to help look after people's welfare", Insp Brennand said.

"I would like to offer our most sincere thanks to everyone for rallying together to support those affected, we have seen true community spirit today."

A fire service spokesman said the blaze was significant and had impacted on the structure of the building. It had to be battled from the ground and roof.

Four fire engines and a hydraulic platform were at the scene.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites