Firefighters evacuate 19 after flat blaze

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Nineteen people had to be evacuated after a fire broke out in a block of flats in Oldbrook yesterday afternoon.

Crews from Great Holm, Broughton, Bletchley and Buckingham were called to the four-storey building in Boycott Avenue, Oldbrook, shortly after 2pm. At its peak, there were more than 30 firefighters and officers at the scene.

The fire destroyed a flat on the top floor and badly damaged the roofs of two other flats in the 39-unit building. A number of flats were damaged by smoke and water.

The cause of the fire is being investigated. There was no-one in the flat in which the fire is believed to have started.

Station Manager Steve Wells, the incident commander, said: “Firefighters worked hard to stop the fire from spreading further and causing even more damage. As a result, most of the residents were able to start returning to their homes at about 5pm.

“Our colleagues from Thames Valley Police did a fantastic job to ensure that everyone in the building was safely evacuated, and to move a number of vehicles that were parked near the building out of the way.

“I would also like to thank the housing association and Milton Keynes Council’s emergency planning staff for all their help and support.”

Greg Smith, Service Delivery Manager for Milton Keynes, said: “The incident caused significant damage and disruption, but we are all relieved that no-one was hurt.

“I am confident that if these premises had been fitted with domestic sprinklers, the damage would have been much less severe and our attendance could have been significantly reduced, ensuring resources were available for other emergencies in the area.”

Volunteers from the British Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Service, whose vehicle is based at Bletchley Fire Station, also attended the incident to help look after residents whose homes were affected by the fire.

On Monday, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service’s Chief Fire Officer, Mark Jones, urged people to sign an online petition calling for sprinklers to be fitted in new homes as they are built.