The fire alarms in a Bolton University flat ‘did not go off’ as the six-storey building was engulfed in flames last night.
Students were evacuated from The Cube on Bradshawgate at around 8.50pm, shortly before the blaze was seen bursting from the top floor.
More than 40 fire engines were still at the scene this morning tackling ‘the last few fighting pockets of fire’ after witnesses last night described flames ‘crawling up the cladding’ on the outside of the building.
Paramedics had treated two people, including one person rescued by crews via an aerial platform.
The horrific blaze comes two years after Bolton University students were reassured The Cube did not have the same dangerous cladding as Grenfell Tower – the London tower block that went up in flames in June 2017 and saw 72 people die.
It has now been claimed the alarms in one of the Bolton flats did not sound last night.
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A massive fire and emergency services operation was underway last night after a student building went up in flames in Bolton (pictured, the scene of the blaze)
Witnesses reported seeing students ‘crying on their phones’ outside the building where more than 12 fire engines are now in attendance (pictured, the scene of the fire)
There was also a significant police presence at the scene, as firefighters desperately battled the flames (pictured)
Locals said the scene was ‘shocking’ as residents were evacuated and workers battled the flames
A woman, believed to be a student, posted on Twitter: ‘The fire alarms in our rooms didn’t even go off!
‘It took banging on people’s doors and screaming ”it’s a real fire” to get everyone out.
‘My whole life is in that room and not knowing what possessions I still have is horrible.
‘We don’t know what to do now. Goodnight.’
Urban Student Life, which owns The Cube, has been contacted for comment.
A woman, believed to be a student, posted on Twitter: ‘The fire alarms in our rooms didn’t even go off!’
Firefighters were pictured at the scene after the fire on the top floors of the building on Bradshawgate in Bolton
At 1.30am on Saturday, the fire service tweeted to say 40 fire engines were at the scene of the blaze
Shocked students posted to their social media accounts to share their experiences of the fire
Footage shared on social media showed the top floor of The Cube engulfed in flames as chunks of what appeared to be flaming cladding material fell to the ground.
Witness Ace Love, 35, said: ‘The fire kept getting more intense, climbing up and to the right because the wind was blowing so hard.
‘We could see it bubbling from the outside and then being engulfed from the outside.
‘A lot of students got out very fast, someone was very distressed, the rest were on phones calling for help.
‘The fire got worse and worse, to the point where you could see through the beams, it was just bare frame.’
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said crews were called to Bradshawgate in Bolton town centre at 8.50pm
Dominic Walsh, 36, was in a nearby curry house with his father when the fire (pictured) started and he estimated between 50 and 100 people were evacuated from the building, which houses students
A huge emergency service response was underway after the fire broke out at a student block in the centre of Bolton (pictured)
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said 40 fire engines were at the scene and that the building was being evacuated (pictured fire crews at the scene)
Dominic Walsh, 36, was in a nearby curry house with his father when the fire started and he estimated between 50 and 100 people were evacuated from the building, which houses students.
He said: ‘We could smell smoke and we thought it was just coming from the kitchen, then a couple of fire engines rocked up and then a few people were coming out of the building, and then a few more.
‘When we stepped out we could see the embers in the sky. We could see the building glowing at the top.’
He said he didn’t see any casualties although a number of students were ‘crying on their phones’.
‘It was pretty awful,’ he said, adding: ‘They were just in shock.’
One witness described the fire as ‘crawl[ing] up the cladding like it was nothing’. Pictured: Fire crews hosing the building
Two firefighters are pictured at the scene last night after the fire on the top floors of The Cube building
Greater Manchester Police also said they were at the scene. GMP Bolton North posted on Facebook last night: ‘We are currently dealing with an incident on Bradshawgate and have a number of road closures in place. Please avoid the area until further notice’
Images posted on social media show firefighters tackling flames coming out of the windows on the top floors of a building on Bradshawgate
There was a significant police presence at the scene, with a Greater Manchester Police Bolton North spokesman saying last night: ‘We are currently dealing with an incident on Bradshawgate and have a number of road closures in place.
‘Please avoid the area until further notice. Thank you for your cooperation.’
Stunned students shared videos of the fire on social media and said they had been informed that they would be housed in other student accommodation temporarily.
The Cube, which is owned by Urban Student Life, claims to offer ‘both spacious luxury studios and en-suite cluster flats’ in the centre of Bolton.
University of Bolton student Shannon Parker, 22, lives in the building.
She said: ‘I was in my room whilst it was happening. I heard the fire alarm going off but it kept on going off so I just thought it was a drill at first until one of my flatmates shouted down the corridor that it was a real fire.
Fire ripped through the student building in Bolton. Students were evacuated to a hotel close to the incident
The block of luxury student flats was wrecked by fire after flames rapidly spread ‘up the cladding’
‘So I ran out the flat as quickly as I could and I saw that it was one of the flats below mine and we went out by the fire exit.’
She said she was being relocated to either a nearby hotel or another student accommodation building.
Another student said on social media: ‘My Bolton student accommodation is on fire. I am safe just sad that my belongings are in there! But the main thing is I’m out and I’m safe.’
Professor George E Holmes DL, President and Vice Chancellor of Bolton University, said: ‘Supporting the welfare of our students is our number one priority and we have moved swiftly to assist in any way we can.
‘University colleagues have worked through the night to make sure support is in place for students over the weekend.
‘We have assisted in ensuring students have been given temporary alternative accommodation at the Orlando student halls and in some Bolton hotels.
‘We have also arranged to provide necessities such as toiletries for all students affected and are opening the University over the weekend so students can be supported. We will also provide food for them.
‘I would like to stress that The Cube is not owned by the University of Bolton. It is owned and managed by a private landlord and the students were not on our premises when during this incident.’
How the student accommodation block looked prior to the fire. Two years ago students were reassured The Cube did not have the same cladding as the dangerous material coating Grenfell Tower, where 72 people died in June 2017
Around the country, people have offered support to those affected by the Bolton fire this evening
Incumbent Labour candidate for Bolton South East, Yasmin Qureshi, warned people to stay away from the area and said she would be in contact with the emergency services.
She said on Twitter last night: ‘There is an ongoing incident in Bolton town centre and the emergency services are asking people to stay away from the area for the time being. I will be liaising with the police and fire services to stay informed of developments.’
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government, Robert Jenrick, tweeted to say officials were ready to offer assistance if required.
Dozens of locals have expressed their sympathies to those affected by the blaze.
Natasha Watson, writing on Twitter, said: ‘Hope everyone round the corner from me here in Bolton is safe can’t believe i can see the fire from my flat, looks absolutely terrifying, hoping everyone is out safely!’
While another said: ‘The Cube – student accommodation at Bolton on fire! Praying everyone is safe.’
Around the country, others have offered support.
Luke Beech said: ‘The fire in Bolton right now looks horrendous, hoping everyone is safe. Balmoral pub and Premier Inn are apparently taking people in.
‘If you’re local, offer what you can to those who need. There are a lot of students scared away from home who need help.’
And Mike Claridge said: ‘Bolton student accommodation fire looks serious. Cladding falling in flames and whole block looks on fire in videos on Twitter. Hoping and praying all were able to get out.’
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