Wisbech hostel blaze contained after ‘calm’ residents and staff shut a door to stop flames spreading

RESIDENTS and staff of a �330,000 Wisbech hostel have been applauded for calmly evacuating the building on Sunday afternoon when a fire broke out in a resident’s bedroom.

Everyone had left The Foyer supported housing complex in North Street by the time the fire service arrived to tackle the blaze, and the shutting of a bedroom door had stopped the fire from spreading.

Karen Chambers, Axiom Supported Housing Manager said: “I would particularly like to commend the staff member concerned and residents for the way in which they reacted, which was calmly and promptly and in accordance with our fire procedures.

“This ensured that everyone was evacuated safely before the fire brigade arrived and minimal damage was caused”.

The fire was discovered by a project working after the fire alarm was triggered, and extensive smoke damage was caused to one of the resident’s rooms on the third floor after an electrical appliance started a blaze. No one tried to tackle the fire, and no one was injured.


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Despite the fire, The Foyer continued to operate as normal. By Wednesday, staff and the occupant of the fire damaged room were busy re-decorating.

Fire fighters from Wisbech, Outwell and West Walton were called to tackle the fire shortly before 1.30pm on Sunday.

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A fire spokesman said: “Everyone inside the three storey building had evacuated before firefighters arrived and had closed the bedroom door on the way out.

“Crews extinguished a fire in the bedroom on the third floor using one hose reel. They returned to their fire station by 2.30pm.

Howard Newton, firefighter at Wisbech Fire Station said: “Fortunately everyone had left the building as soon as they were aware of the fire, and they also closed the doors behind them. This starves the fire of oxygen and helped to stop the fire from spreading.

“This is also why it is a good idea to keep internal doors closed at night, so that if a fire does occur, it is less likely to spread to other rooms.”

The Foyer opened in 2008 and provides a home for up to 20 youngsters, giving them a taste of independent living and giving them advice on jobs and training.

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