GALLERY: Fire fighters tackle blaze at care home where most residents had already left following critical inspection

ONLY four residents were left living in a Litteport care home where fire broke out in the roof today and they have now been relocated in other properties belonging to the home’s owners.

The residents and 10 staff at The Grange Nursing Home were evacuated shortly after 3.30pm today when the alarm was raised.

It is understood renovation work had been taking place at the home, with a large amount of scaffolding surrounding the roofing, which was being replaced

An eye-witness who was at the scene as the fire took hold said: “We heard the fire alarm going off as we walked up to the school but couldn’t see any obvious signs of fire so we assumed they were having a drill.

“It was only when we started walking back towards Ely Road just after 3pm that we saw flames and white smoke pouring from part of the roof that they had been doing work.

“It was then that we saw the first fire engine pull into the road.”

Crews managed to get the flames under control quite quickly but had to break into sections of the roof using poles to check that the fire had not spread and to begin damping down the smouldering rood struts.

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Crews from Littleport, Soham, Ely and a turn table ladder from Cambridge were sent to tackle the blaze.

Littleport Grange was originally licensed to house 70 residents but earlier this year the Care Quality Commission – who ‘police’ the care industry- issued enforcement proceedings after the home failed part of a routine inspection.

Following that report those residents funded by Cambridgeshire County Council were moved out.

A joint statement at the time from the council, Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust and NHS Cambridgeshire, said: “This decision has not been taken lightly and we recognise that relocation will be an unsettling experience for residents and their families. However, the welfare of residents within the home is of paramount importance to us.”

The inspectors had been unhappy about care plans and keeping of records.

Owners Dove Care Group announced earlier this year it was unhappy with the decision to withdraw funding for some residents but promised improvements to bring it back up to scratch.

Chris Gilmore, from the Dove Care Group, said: “All the residents and staff we evacuated safety and moved to other premises owned by the company and we will be cooperating fully with the fire and rescue service as the investigation into what caused the fire begins.”