Bolton fire: Crews tackle huge blaze at student flats

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Image source, GMFRS
Image caption,
Firefighters are tackling the blaze at The Cube in Bolton

Firefighters have been tackling a huge blaze at a university student accommodation block.

Crowds of students were evacuated from The Cube in Bolton when the fire broke out at about 20:30 GMT on Friday.

At its height about 200 firefighters from 40 fire engines were tackling the blaze which was affecting every floor.

A witness said the fire was "climbing up" the six-storey building. One person was rescued by crews using an aerial platform.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) said two people were treated by paramedics at the scene.

It said six fire engines remained at the scene at 05:30 as firefighters "tackle the last few pockets of fire".

Area manager Jim Hutton said "hardworking firefighters" had prevented the fire from spreading to an adjacent building.

"Our crews have done a fantastic job bringing this fire under control, in what have been very challenging circumstances," added Assistant Chief Fire Officer Tony Hunter.

Image source, Neil Hart
Image caption,
One witness said the fire was "climbing up" the building

University of Bolton student Shannon Parker, who lives in the building, said she was in her room when the fire started.

"I heard the fire alarm going off but it kept on going off so I just thought it was a drill at first until one of my flatmates shouted down the corridor that it was a real fire," the 22-year-old said.

"So I ran out the flat as quickly as I could and I saw that it was one of the flats below mine and we went out by the fire exit."

She said she was being relocated to either a nearby hotel or another student accommodation building.

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Police have closed a number of roads in the area

GMFRS has asked residents of The Cube to register at Orlando Village Student Accommodation and contact family members to let them know they are safe.

The University of Bolton said it was supporting students who had been evacuated and had given people temporary accommodation at the Orlando student halls and in some hotels.

Prof George E Holmes DL, president and vice-chancellor of the university, said: "University colleagues have worked through the night to make sure support is in place for students over the weekend.

"We have also arranged to provide necessities such as toiletries for all students affected and are opening the university over the weekend so students can be supported. We will also provide food for them."

He said The Cube was not owned by the University of Bolton and that it was owned and managed by a private landlord.

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Witness Ace Love, 35, said the fire "kept getting more intense, climbing up and to the right because the wind was blowing so hard".

"We could see it bubbling from the outside and then being engulfed from the outside," he added.

"A lot of students got out very fast, someone was very distressed, the rest were on phones calling for help.

"The fire got worse and worse, to the point where you could see through the beams, it was just bare frame."

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Videos posted on social media show debris falling from the building and firefighters tackling flames coming out of the windows on the top floors.

One student tweeted to say she had to leave her belongings and added: "But the main thing is I'm out and I'm safe."

Greater Manchester Police said a number of road closures were in place.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Firefighters are using aerial appliances to tackle the blaze

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