Residents told to stay put in Bedford high-rise fire

editorial image

Dozens of terrified residents were told by firefighters to stay put as smoke engulfed their 12-storey block of flats.

The fire broke out in the bin cupboard on the ground floor of high-rise Beckett court last Thursday evening.

Though 25 firefighters had the blaze quickly 
under control, smoke rose rapidly through the open refuse chutes that go right up to the top floor. As a result the building was smoke logged from floors six to 11.

One woman from the top floor, believed to have been suffering from smoke inhalation, was taken into the care of the ambulance service, and a baby in a buggy was carried down 11 flights of stairs by a firefighter.

But other residents, 
panicking over a Grenfell Tower-type outcome, were told not to leave their homes.

Fire commander Andy Draper said: “This shows the importance of our ‘stay put’ message. Residential apartments are the safest place to be if the fire is not directly on the residents’ floor. Leaving your flat puts you at risk from smoke and fumes.”