More than 100 evacuated after major fire ravaged retirement apartments

Around 150 residents of a retirement complex have been evacuated from their homes after the building was ravaged by fire, police said.

Firefighters in Crewe have been battling through the night to stop the blaze from spreading, with people living in nearby homes also asked to leave due to the flames and smoke.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service said it was called at 4.30pm on Thursday to reports of the blaze at the Beechmere complex in Rolls Avenue.

By 10pm, 16 fire crews were at the scene, and a spokesman said the building had sustained “significant damage and has partially collapsed”.

Police were called to assist with the incident, and said a number of the residents were relocated to crisis accommodation, while others were taken to an emergency rest centre.

People living nearby were urged to keep their windows and doors closed.

Fire crews are likely to remain at the scene into the weekend, said Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Neil Griffiths, who is the fire commander in charge of the incident, said: “This is a substantial fire in a very large and complex building. More than 70 firefighters have been at the scene overnight tackling the blaze – the response effort has been immense and I want to thank each and every one of them.

“Our efforts have been hampered by the weather, the layout of the site and the access to it, but I want to reassure everyone that we are doing all that we can to bring the fire under control as quickly as possible.

“The response from the local community has been amazing and we are very appreciative of their support.”

Police also praised neighbours who swiftly offered support, donated items and provide lifts for some of those affected.

Superintendent Pete Crowcroft, of Cheshire Police, said: “This is a very large fire in a building that is at the heart of the community.

“Naturally this will have a significant impact on those living close by and they will clearly be concerned for all those affected. But the response shown last night within minutes of the incident being reported was nothing short of remarkable and I want to thank every single person who has helped or offered help in some way.”

Arrangements for alternative accommodation are being made for the care home residents after they were initially taken to nearby rest centres. A small number of people were taken to hospital to be checked over, said police.

A number of residents living in two streets next to the building were also evacuated overnight as a precaution.

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service / PA Wire.

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