Bolton fire: Huge blaze breaks out at student flat block

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Services said they were called to the blaze at around 8:30pm: Twitter/@jasonsimpsonart
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Services said they were called to the blaze at around 8:30pm: Twitter/@jasonsimpsonart

A huge fire tore through a block of student flats in Bolton by “crawling up the cladding like it was nothing", according to eyewitnesses.

Some 25 fire crews deployed to tackle the blaze, which saw flames coming out of the windows on the top floors of a building on Bradshawgate, in the centre of the town.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said they were called to the scene at around 8:30pm​ on Friday.

It is currently unclear if there have been any injuries as a result of the incident, with scores of students reported to have been evacuated from the building.

By 1am on Saturday, work was continuing to extinguish pockets of fire on the fifth and sixth floors of the building, the brigade said.

Jim Hutton, the fire service's area manager, said: “I want to praise our hardworking firefighters who have worked exceptionally hard during difficult conditions and prevented the fire from spreading to an adjacent building.

“We have divided the fire itself into four sectors of firefighting, allowing us to target our efforts on particular hotspots. While the building does remain on fire, we are doing all we can to stay on top of this situation and soon extinguish the flames.”

Ace Love, a witness, said: "The fire kept getting more intense, climbing up and to the right because the wind was blowing so hard.

"We could see it bubbling from the outside and then being engulfed from the outside.

"A lot of students got out very fast, someone was very distressed, the rest were on phones calling for help.

"The fire got worse and worse, to the point where you could see through the beams, it was just bare frame."

Robert Jenrick, the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government, said: “My thoughts are with all those involved with the serious fire in Bolton this evening”.

He added his office was “following events and stand ready to assist if required”.

Local residents are currently being advised to keep windows closed due to the acrid smoke emanating from the property.

Greater Manchester Police are also at the scene. The Bolton North wing of the force wrote on Facebook: "We are currently dealing with an incident on Bradshawgate and have a number of road closures in place.

"Please avoid the area until further notice."​

Additional reporting by PA.

Read more

Labour demands deadline for removal of Grenfell-style cladding