A devastating fire at the Beechmere retirement development in Crewe has resulted 150 elderly residents losing their homes as the three storey timber framed building has collapsed.
70 firefighters from Cheshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire and Merseyside worked for more than 12 hours to fight the blaze.
Asst Ch Fire Officer, Gus O’Rourke said he was “extremely shocked” at how quickly the fire had spread and, once everyone was evacuated, crews had worked to protect neighbouring properties.
He said a “stay put” policy for residents in the complex was quickly abandoned due to the speed with which the fire spread.
The retirement complex contained 132 high quality ‘extra care’ apartments plus a range of facilities. According to the local paper the Crewe Chronicle it boasted containing “the most timber used in any residential development in Europe”
“What was significant about this fire was the speed at which it spread, giving residents little time to evacuate”, said Steve Elliott, Chairman of the British Association of Reinforcement. “Following on from the major fire in Barking earlier this year, this latest fire underlines the real dangers of timber frame construction”.