Investigation Into Southampton Flat Fire

At 19:59 on Friday 22 July, Hampshire firecrews were called to a fire at Wyndham Court, Commercial Road in the Blechynden area of Southampton.

The fire was located on the fourth floor of the six story block of flats.

Control operators mobilised two fire appliances and the Special Equipment Unit from St Mary’s Fire Station, one fire appliance and the aerial ladder platform from Redbridge, two fire appliances from Eastleigh, one fire appliance from Hightown, one fire appliance from Totton, One Fire appliance from Hamble, the Multi-Role Vehicle from Havant, one fore appliance from Beaulieu and the Incident Command Unit from Service Headquarters.

A total of 64 firefighters together with supporting officers and crew were in attendance.

Volunteers on call with the Red Cross in Hampshire were also mobilised to the scene as part of the Fire and Emergency Support Service.

Firefighters arrived to find heat and smoke affecting the floor above the fire and tackled the blaze using 14 breathing apparatus, four jets, one high pressure house reel and the aerial ladder platform and smoke was cleared from the premises with the positive pressure ventilation fan.  Crews used the thermal imaging camera to ensure there were no further hotspots.

Group Manager Kevin Oxlade said:

“The fire involved the second floor of a maisonette.  Crews worked extremely hard to contain the fire to the within the flat of origin. 

"The flats above and either side of where the incident took place received heat and smoke damage but this would no doubt have been a much more serious incident and had it not been for their firefighting efforts. 

"I am pleased to say that together with the assistance of a Southampton City Council Wardens and police officers all the residents were safely evacuated.”

Two pets were rescued from the incident.  One rabbit that was deemed as not being in imminent danger was kept secure in a hutch within the premises whilst crews dealt with the fire.  It was carefully monitored by firefighters before being removed at an appropriate time.  Firefighter Steve Sawyer from St Mary’s Fire Station said:

“Once the fire had been extinguished two of us went back into the flat as lots of water was coming down from the upper floor of the maisonette. 

"Whilst looking for the isolation switch I heard a ‘meow’ and we realised that there was a cat in the premises.  We searched the flat and found a kitten in the kitchen. 

"It must have found a safe spot to hide in whilst all the fire fighting activities had gone on elsewhere in the flat. 

"Together with help from the Fire and Emergency Support Service team the unharmed kitten was carefully placed in a secure box and reunited with its relieved owners who had only owned the kitten for a matter of days. 

"Both pets are thought to be fit and well and are expected to make a happy recovery from their ordeal”

Firefighter Steve Sawyer with rescued kitten

A total of five casualties were treated for the effects of smoke inhalation by South Central Ambulance Service with three being taken to hospital and two being treated at the scene.

A fire investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire but it is not thought to be suspicious.