Two injured after flames 'crawled up cladding' at student flats

15 November 2019, 23:29 | Updated: 16 November 2019, 11:18

Two people have been injured after a large fire broke out at student accommodation in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

At least 40 fire crews were tackling the Friday night blaze at the six-storey building known as The Cube on Bradshawgate.

It was evacuated and one witness said flames were "crawling up the cladding like it was nothing".

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said two people were treated for injuries at the scene.

One of the patients had been rescued by crews using an aerial platform.

One 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.

"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."

University of Bolton student Shannon Parker, 22, who lives in the building, said: "I was in my room whilst it was happening.

"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.

"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."

The fire service was called at 8.30pm. The blaze was still going on Saturday morning.

"We have divided the fire itself into four sectors of firefighting, allowing us to target our efforts on particular hotspots," the fire service area manager Jim Hutton said in a statement.

"While the building does remain on fire, we are doing all we can to stay on top of this situation and soon extinguish the flames."

President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, Professor George E Holmes DL, said: "Supporting the welfare of our students is our number one priority and we have moved swiftly to assist in any way we can."

He said students have been offered temporary alternative accommodation at another set of student halls and in local hotels. They have also been offered food and toiletries.

He added: "I would like to stress that The Cube is not owned by the University of Bolton. It is owned and managed by a private landlord and the students were not on our premises during this incident."

Greater Manchester Police Bolton North said a number of road closures are in place.

Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick, tweeted to say officials are ready to offer assistance if required.