Evacuation as fire grips flats

MORE than 30 people were evacuated from a block of retirement flats in Maybury after a fierce blaze started on the top floor.

Several of the residents were fitted with smoke hoods by firefighters before being led to safety late on Monday evening.

Flames leap from the top floor flat at Beaufort Lodge as firefighters prepare to tackle the incident. Photo by Roula Allaham

The incident, in a flat on the third floor of Beaufort Lodge in Grove Road, was caused by food being cooked that had been left unattended catching fire.

Several calls to the emergency services were made soon after 10pm. With Woking’s fire appliance attending another call, firefighters from Chertsey were the first crew to arrive, finding flames shooting out from a window and balcony.

A total of nine engines and an aerial ladder were sent, including appliances from the Hampshire and Berkshire brigades.

Sixteen firefighters wore breathing apparatus to tackle the flames and lead residents to safety through smoke-filled corridors.

Ambulance crews treated six of the evacuated residents for minor ailments not associated with the incident. Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said all the occupants of the block were accounted for and there were no injuries caused by the fire.

Woking Borough Council officers, supported by Surrey Police, South East Coast Ambulance Service and the Red Cross, set up a rest centre for the evacuated residents at the nearby DoubleTree by Hilton hotel.

“The residents were assessed at the centre, given time to come to terms with the incident and then allowed to return to their homes gradually,” said a fire service spokesman. “There are a number of residents who will not be able to return to their homes due to fire and water damage.”

The council and the building’s owner, Churchill Retirement Living, are continuing to support the people affected by the fire and have found temporary accommodation for those who are unable to return to their homes.

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