Ten students forced to find alternative accommodation after fire at flats in Grimwade Street, Ipswich

Fire in student accommodation block in Grimwade Street in Ipswich - photo copyright Anglia Picture A

Fire in student accommodation block in Grimwade Street in Ipswich - photo copyright Anglia Picture Agency - Credit: Ashley Pickering/Anglia Picture Agency

A university accommodation block in Ipswich was evacuated yesterday after a fire broke out in a communal area.

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Seven fire engines, as well as ambulance and police crews, were called at 4pm to the blaze at a property in Grimwade Street, which houses University of Suffolk students.

No one was injured during the fire and all residents from the building, which is managed by Student First, were quickly accounted for.

Fire broke out at student accommodation in Grimwade Street, Ipswich tonight - photo by Nigel Brown

Fire broke out at student accommodation in Grimwade Street, Ipswich tonight - photo by Nigel Brown - Credit: Archant

Students took refuge in the University of Suffolk’s Waterfront building while firefighters tackled the blaze.

Grimwade Street, Ipswich - phot by Nigel Brown

Grimwade Street, Ipswich - phot by Nigel Brown - Credit: Archant

Speaking at the scene Ian Mallet, group commander from Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, said the fire started in a common area on the second floor of the building.

Students gather as fire breaks out at a block of flats in Grimwade Street, Ipswich

Students gather as fire breaks out at a block of flats in Grimwade Street, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

It was extinguished by around 4.50pm but firefighters remained at the scene checking the roof space to ensure it had not spread and ventilating the building of smoke.

Fire at Grimwade Street, Ipswich on Sunday.

Fire at Grimwade Street, Ipswich on Sunday. - Credit: Archant

Ten out of the 49 rooms in the housing block were affected by the fire, a University of Suffolk spokeswoman confirmed.

Fire crews dealing with a blaze at Grimwade Street, Ipswich on Sunday

Fire crews dealing with a blaze at Grimwade Street, Ipswich on Sunday - Credit: Archant

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“We are making arrangements to accommodate the residents affected,” she said. “The majority of students will be back in their rooms tonight.”

The fire scene in Grimwade Street, Ipswich - by Nigel Brown

The fire scene in Grimwade Street, Ipswich - by Nigel Brown - Credit: Archant

Celia Jones, University of Suffolk’s student warden, confirmed that the fire had broken out on the top floor - and assured that it did not start as a result of someone cooking.

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Fire in student accommodation block i

Copyright Anglia Picture Agency www.angliapictureagency.co.uk Fire in student accommodation block in Grimwade Street in Ipswich - Credit: Ashley Pickering/Anglia Picture Agency

The cause of the fire may have been a domestic appliance, possibly a washing machine.

Speaking at the scene, Ms Jones said: “Everyone is out of the building. We have a marvellous system in there. The alarm goes off, all the doors shut, all the gas turns off and the boiler turns off. We have a chimney that automatically opens and lets the smoke go out.

“Everyone who was in the building is out. The fire brigade came straight away, which is brilliant.”

Asked about the cause of the fire, she said: “It wasn’t anyone cooking – we don’t know anything more than that.”

Witness Paul Morrison, who works at the nearby Ipswich Foyer, said he saw smoke “billowing out of the building” around 4.20pm.

“It must be scary for them,” he added. “I thought I heard someone screaming.”

Grimwade Street was closed and a diversion was in place via Waterworks Street.

Long tailbacks were reported along Star Lane and one motorist said he was “stuck” for almost an hour.

Fire engines from Woodbridge, Felixstowe, Hadleigh and Stowmarket joined units from Ipswich in tackling the blaze.

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