FIRE station safety manager Dave Baxter told Quays News that students “shouldn’t panic,” and that the fire at UNITE Parkway Gate building was being treated as “accidental” as clean-up continued on Tuesday morning.
The fire broke out Parkway Gate Halls student flats last evening at 10:30pm and frightened students were evacuated from the 17-storey building.
Mr Baxter said: “It was quite a significant fire, but it didn’t spread. It was contained where it should have been contained, in the room of origin, even though it was coming out the front.”
Mr Baxter reassured students that there was no need to worry, though residents were left shaken after the experience. An eye witness, Jauque Talbot, a third year English student told Quays News:
“I was in my room on the top floor, fifteenth floor. I heard a massive explosion I thought was a bomb. I looked out my window and there was fire everywhere where the bike shed was, there were people running, people screaming. I panicked, put my coat on and went down the fire escape.”
There have been reports from students that the alarm system did not work effectively and failed to alert the residents of the danger.
It is understood there is a joint investigation between the fire service and Greater Manchester Police, the preliminary findings are that is not deliberate. There’s also a specialist fire safety officer looking into reports that the fire alarm system isn’t working as it should have done. There are discussions taking place to establish whether the fire alarm system did what it should have done.
The cladding used on the UNITE student accommodation was not the same system as that used on the Grenfell Tower in London in which an estimated 80 people died during a blaze earlier this year.
Mr Baxter explained that all the student accommodation and high-rise buildings across Greater Manchester had “already been inspected” and found to have “no concerns,” and none of them use the Grenfell Tower style cladding.
See what one of the residents had to say about the incident:
Student Fire Safety Week is 23rd-29th of October and students are urged to get involved.