Bristol fire: Man dead and eight injured after blaze rips through tower block
One man has died and eight people were rushed to hospital injured after a fire ripped through a tower block in the early hours of this morning.
Residents were woken by shouting and screaming as the fire tore through the tower block and emergency services scrambled to the scene after reports of the fire just after 2.15am today.
Ninety people were evacuated from Twinnel House in Bristol as fire ripped through the 16th floor of the building but two residents claimed not to have heard a fire alarm before the blaze.
One man tragically died in the fire and eight people were sent to hospital.
Seven people are being treated in hospital for smoke inhalation and another for minor burns, whilst three other people were treated at the scene by ambulance services.
Video from the scene of the fire this morning shows residents milling round outside the tower with a heavy emergency service presence still in place. Council vehicles can be seen as well.
One mum, who was trapped on the 16th floor with her three children as the fire tore through the tower block has spoken out on the horror blaze.
Along with her three kids, one of whom is five months old, they were trapped for half an hour after she claimed she didn’t hear the fire alarm go off.
Instead she was woken by the sound of her baby crying and the smell of smoke.
She added that she could hear banging in the corridor so she went to open her front door, only to be confronted by “lots of smoke.”
She said: “I called the emergency services. We could not even open the front door because of the amount of smoke.
“It was terrifying. The fire brigade eventually came to get us but there was lots of smoke by this point.
“We were in there for 20 to 30 minutes. I was so scared for my kids. We had to go to hospital for smoke inhalation and they (her children) are with family now.”
Terry Wootten, who has lived at Twinnell House for 32 years, said he was asleep at the time of the fire and was woken by shouts and screams so loud he thought there was a fight on the street below.
He also claimed he didn’t hear the fire alarm go off. He said: “I decided to get out of my flat as I guessed there was something wrong. I didn’t know there was a fire when I first got out.
“There were lots of people outside already. I have no medication, no walking stick – nothing. I’ve nowhere to go. I have not been able to sleep all night. I am really angry.”
“I filled my freezer up just yesterday and all that food will have gone bad by now,”.
Seven ambulances helped the emergency response to the blaze that also saw a Hazardous Area Response Team at the scene.
As well as fire damage, emergency services all said the tower suffered water damage on lower levels.
A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: “The fire was quickly extinguished however sadly, we can confirm one person died in the incident.
“Around 90 residents have been evacuated and a rest centre set up at St. Nicholas Of Tolentino RC Church, Lawfords Gate, where Bristol City Council is currently providing welfare support to around 40 people.”
As emergency services remain at the scene some local roads are shut and a cordon is in place around the building – it is expected to remain up until the building can be assessed and deemed safe.
A full investigation into the incident will be carried out in due course. Avon and Somerset Police Superintendent Tony Blatchford said: “This is a tragic incident in which a man has lost his life.
“While formal identification has not yet been carried out, we believe we know who the man is and have informed his next of kin. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.
“Enquiries into what happened have already begun and we will work closely with the fire service to fully understand what started the fire and how the man sadly died. I’d like to thank those who have been evacuated from their homes for their co-operation and understanding and promise them all agencies are working hard to enable them to return home as quickly as possible.”
Dave Hodges, Avon Fire and Rescue Service Duty Group Commander, said: “On arrival crews were faced with a serious fire on the 16th floor and deployed crews wearing breathing apparatus to tackle the fire and assist residents.
“The upper floors have been damaged by smoke and fire, and water damage has affected many flats on lower floors.
“The fire has now been contained and fire crews remain in attendance making the scene safe. We are working with our partner agencies to support the local community during this difficult time. Our sincere condolences go to the friends and family of the deceased.”
A spokesperson for Bristol City Council said: “Our thoughts are with the family of the individual who has tragically lost their life in this incident.
“We’re grateful for the swift action of all emergency services and council officers involved to tackle this fire and support residents to the nearby place of safety. Officers are currently supporting the efforts underway to assess the damage and understand how the fire started.
“Residents affected by this tragic incident are being supported and those who require it will be helped into emergency accommodation whilst their homes remain inaccessible.”