Seven rescued from Essex flat blaze

SEVEN people were rescued by firefighters after a blaze in the stairwell of an Essex block of flats.Crews were called to the flats in Malyons, Pitsea, shortly before 1am today.

SEVEN people were rescued by firefighters after a blaze in the stairwell of an Essex block of flats.

Crews were called to the flats in Malyons, Pitsea, shortly before 1am today.

Station Officer Gary Hastings from Basildon Fire Station said: "A 16-year-old girl who lived in the second floor flat heard her smoke alarm activating and called the fire service, she also raised the alarm to her neighbours.

"She became trapped in her flat as smoke filled the stairwell and she could not escape safely.

“A ladder was put up to her flat window to rescue her.

"Senior control operator Alison Loades, handled the 999 call and advised the trapped girl to put towels and blankets under the door to keep the thick smoke out of the flat and kept her calm by talking to her, as firefighters began the rescue operations.

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"Firefighter Pete Pavitt, from blue watch with over 30 years of experience carried out the rescue from the ladder and bought the girl who was trapped in her flat to safety.

"Meanwhile firefighters wearing breathing apparatus extinguished the fire and entered the block of flats to search for other residents trapped by the thick smoke.

“Fire crews rescued six people and a dog and lead them to safety.

"Credit goes to the young lady who raised the alarm, who did exactly the right thing, called 999 and alerted her neighbours to the fire.”

The fire started in the stairwell of the flats and is believed to have started in a plastic bin, once alight the bin was giving off toxic fumes and produced thick black smoke.

Firefighters wore two sets of breathing apparatus and one hose reel to tackle the fire in the stairwell of a block of flats.

The fire, which is being treated as suspicious, was extinguished by 1.30am.

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