Firefighters continue to tackle major blaze in Crewe

Picture courtesy of Winsford Fire Service

Fire crews tackling a major blaze at a supported living complex in Crewe are expecting to be there into the weekend.

At its height, more than 70 firefighters tackled the blaze at the facility on Rolls Avenue, after being called out at 4:30pm yesterday.

Throughout the night 16 fire engines from Cheshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire and Merseyside were in attendance to get the blaze under control.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service

Local people entered the building to help emergency services evacuate 150 residents from the building, which has partially collapsed.

A number of people were taken to hospital for checks.

Others were initially taken to nearby rest centres, while arrangements for alternative accommodation are being made.

Some residents living in two streets next to the building were evacuated overnight as a precaution.

Neil Griffiths, who is the fire commander in charge of the incident, said: “Our efforts have been hampered by the weather, the layout of the site and the access to it but I want to reassure everyone that we are doing all that we can to bring the fire under control as quickly as possible."

Emergency services have praised locals for the goodwill, generosity and kindness, as within minutes of the blaze starting, many had turned up to donate items and provide lifts for some of those affected.

Superintendent Pete Crowcroft, who oversees policing in the area, commended locals for the way they rallied round to help others.

He said: “This is a very large fire in a building that is at the heart of the community. Naturally, this will have a significant impact on those living close by and they will clearly be concerned for all those affected. But the response shown last night within minutes of the incident being reported was nothing short of remarkable and I want to thank every single person who has helped or offered help in some way.

“Your kind hearted gesture will have been very much appreciated by everyone involved and I’m sure will have brought some comfort to the residents affected by the fire.”

Some local driving instructors say they will be giving part of their hourly rate for the next 7 days towards helping those affected by the blaze, and have also raised more than £1,000 through a Just Giving page they have set up.

A number of different agencies – including Cheshire Police, Cheshire Fire and Rescue, Cheshire East Council, North West Ambulance Service, NHS England, Public Health England and the Environment Agency – are working together as part of a multi-agency response to the incident and everything is being done to support any residents affected through this difficult time.

Mark Palethorpe, acting executive director people, Cheshire East Council, said: “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the Crewe community for rallying around to support those affected by the terrible fire at Beechmere. The community spirit shown has been overwhelming.

“We have seen very many people offering help, donations and other support both at the rest centre at Crewe Lifestyle Centre and, earlier in the evening, at the site itself.

“We are also aware of the following collection points that have been set up for donations of clothes, towels, bedding and toiletries - Eight Farmers, Crewe, Albert's Corner, Four Eagles, Mecca Bingo, Rainbow Day Nursery, Haslington, Crewe Town FC (5pm - 6.30pm on Friday 9 August), Cumberland Arena, VWJ Earthmoving Ltd (from 7am on Friday 9 August).

“I’d also like to thank our staff who worked so hard through the night, with our partners, to support the residents into alternative accommodation.”

Helen Swift, Operations Manager at Mecca Bingo in Crewe, with items donated by the public

The Salvation Army and British Red Cross has also provided support at the site throughout the night into the morning – for both residents affected by the incident and firefighters who remain at the scene.

A number of road closures remain in place and are likely to stay throughout the day. They include:

  • Minshull New Road at the junction with Rolls Avenue.
  • Badger Avenue at the junction with Minshull New Road.
  • Frank Butt Avenue at the junction with Badger Avenue.
  • Underwood Lane at the junction with Windsor Avenue.

Anyone living in the local area who has any concerns is urged to call 101. Any relatives with any concerns can call 101 quoting IML 480541.

The company that runs Beechmere, Avantage (Cheshire) Limited, have released a statement: "We are devastated by the fire at Beechmere, and we are so relieved that everyone on site were all safely evacuated. 

"We would like to thank the Cheshire Fire and Rescue service who have worked tirelessly throughout the night, and all the partner agencies that are working on a multi-agency response to support residents during this incredibly difficult time. 

"The local community have been amazing, and have really come out to support residents who have lost so much, with collection points set up for donations. It is just incredible. 

"Our team has been onsite throughout the night and again today.

"At this moment our priority is to ensure that all residents are safe, comfortable and have somewhere to stay, then we will start looking at a longer term plan.”

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