Firefighters battle blaze at block of flats in Ipswich
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
A high-rise block of flats in Ipswich has been evacuated after a fire broke out on the fourth floor of the building.
A total of 20 fire appliances from Suffolk and Essex attended Yeoman Close off Yarmouth Road in the town after receiving a call at 1.58pm today.
The fire began within a fourth floor flat and spread onto the roof of the building.
Thick smoke could be seen billowing from the roof of the building and flames were visible earlier in the afternoon.
The building was evacuated and everyone has been accounted for, Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said.
An East Anglian Air Ambulance was also been dispatched to the scene.
Police confirmed that road closures are in place in Yeoman Close and the nearby area.
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A spokesman for Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service said: "Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service are currently attending a flat fire at a high-rise building on Yeoman Close in Ipswich.
"Crews are working to tackle the fire which is currently present within the fourth floor flat and on the roof of the building.
"The building has been evacuated and all persons are accounted for. Both police and ambulance service are also in attendance."
A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said: "Police were called by the fire service at approximately 2.05pm today following reports of a fire within a block of flats in Yeoman Close, Ipswich.
"Officers are in attendance and assisting with road closures. Closures in place in Yeoman Close and nearby area."
Three fire crews from Ipswich East, two from Woodbridge, two from Princes Street, one from Holbrook, one from Felixstowe, one from Needham Market, one from Hadleigh, two from Ixworth, two from Haverhill, two from Colchester and one from Manningtree are currently at the scene.
At about 4pm, they could be seen pumping water out of the nearby river to help them them tackle the blaze.
A spokeswoman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: "We were called at 2.06pm with reports of a fire in Yeoman Close, Ipswich.
"We sent an ambulance, three ambulance officers and an East Anglian Air Ambulance.
"Crews are still at the scene."
A woman, who did not want to be named and whose partner lives in the building, said: “He’s lived here for 9 or 10 years.
"It’s so upsetting that this is people’s homes. Something has clearly gone wrong here."
A man, who lives opposite the building, said: “I was just in my flat and started to smell burning, but I didn’t think anything of it.
“My girlfriend went to the shops and that’s when she saw all the fire engines.
“You can just smell the burning."
Alex Dickin, of the Ipswich Cladiators group, which was set up to fight the cladding crisis in the town, said: "It's not known to be an affected building.
"We hope everyone is ok."
Carolyn Crabb, group manager at Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It was on the top floor of a four storey building - the flat of origin was quite seriously affected upon arrival.
“The smoke was probably seen from quite far away.
“We managed to get the flat fire under control fairly quickly but at this point in time it did spread to the roof and we started firefighting and are continuing firefighting operations in the roof space.”
Firefighters called "stop" to the incident at 8.55pm.
The building is owned by Flagship Group and managed by the Newtide Homes housing association.
Sam Greenacre, managing director of Newtide Homes, said the company would arrange any temporary accommodation needed for tenants.
"We’re aware of the very unfortunate incident and we’re glad to hear that everyone is safe. We’d like to thank the emergency services for attending to the fire so quickly," he said.
"We’re in touch with our tenants and will arrange any temporary accommodation. Our priority is their safety and we’ll ensure they have what they need."