Ten students forced to find alternative accommodation after fire at flats in Grimwade Street, Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 11:51 05 December 2016 | UPDATED: 18:34 05 December 2016
Anglia Picture Agency
A university accommodation block in Ipswich was evacuated yesterday after a fire broke out in a communal area.
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.
Students took refuge in the University of Suffolk’s Waterfront building while firefighters tackled the blaze.
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.
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.
Ten out of the 49 rooms in the housing block were affected by the fire, a University of Suffolk spokeswoman confirmed.
“We are making arrangements to accommodate the residents affected,” she said. “The majority of students will be back in their rooms tonight.”
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.
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.