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Twenty people have been evacuated from their homes after a fire broke out in a block of flats in Bournemouth.
Crews from Springbourne, Westbourne and Redhill Park plus the Red Cross 'FESS' welfare vehicle (approximately 17 firefighters plus two FESS volunteers) were called to a ground floor flat in Madeira Road, Bournemouth at 2330 on Thursday 13 Sept.
Crews wearing six sets of breathing apparatus entered the flat which was completely filled with smoke while colleagues brought two very elderly occupants from a neighbouring flat to safety. They were both treated by ambulance crews and given cautionary checks before being released.
The entire block was affected by the smoke and communal smoke alarms had activated, alerting many of the occupiers to the danger.
Twenty or so people evacuated from the rest of the block and were led to Bournemouth Police Station for safety while firefighters dealt with the considerable smoke levels by using a high powered ventilation fan.
The occupant of the flat where the fire was discovered was out at the time that the fire started but returned home as the fire was ongoing to find his property considerably damaged by fire, heat and smoke.
The cause of the fire is under investigation but is believed to have been caused by an electrical fault.
Fire Investigation officer, Clem Stanley said:
"Although this was an accidental fire believed to have been caused by a small, recently purchased computer item which was left on standby, it still caused a tremendous amount of damage. The owner did have a smoke alarm which would have given him an early warning if he had been in, and the communal smoke detection functioned as it should have too. Although it should be safe to leave equipment on standby, there is always a risk that anything with an electrical supply could develop a fault and cause a fire so we would always urge people to turn such items off at the wall each evening or when going away for any length of time."
MEANWHILE there was another fire in Parkstone not long after. Crews from Westbourne and Poole were called to a property in Rosemary Road at 0230 on Friday 14 Sept following a call from a relative who lives very close by.
Fire Investigation Officer, Clem Stanley, said:
"The elderly occupants had been alerted to a fire in their hallway when they heard the DFRS-fitted smoke alarm going off. One of the occupants had then run to a family member to alert them, who called us immediately. The cause of the fire is more than likely to be a dehumidifier which had been left on overnight. These are usually quite safe to leave on but as with the incident in Bournemouth earlier this evening, there is always a risk that anything with an electrical supply could develop a fault
and cause a fire. Luckily, their working smoke alarms activated and alerted them to the fire and they were able to escape. We recommend that all electrical items are checked regularly by a qualified person before use, especially if they have been stored or unused for a period of time."
Both occupants were treated for smoke inhalation and taken into the care of the ambulance staff.