‘We told you so’ – Neighbours blame Stevenage flat fire on hoarding
PUBLISHED: 10:24 23 June 2018
Danny Loo Photography 2017
A fire that saw a Stevenage block of flats evacuated last night was caused by a man’s hoarding, according to neighbours who have sent a furious letter to councillors.
“We told you so,” begins the letter written by Trish Newton on behalf of the residents group in the two-storey Round Mead block – where the fire broke out shortly after midnight.
According to the letter, addressed to five Stevenage borough councillors and seen by the Comet, the group had raised flags about the fire hazard created by a hoarder in the flat where the blaze began.
“The smell from his flat from the fire was acrid and one can assume it is from plastic burning as he kept all the plastic bags from shopping,” said Trish.
Luckily, she said, a neighbour was up late listening to music with a friend.
“They heard a couple of bangs and then smelt the acrid smoke coming under their door,” she said.
“They called the fire brigade and police.”
Trish said the hoarder should be moved to a safe and secure place as he is “a risk not only to himself but to all the tenants here”.
She added that a lot of the Round Mead tenants had spoken about this during the night and “are now insisting that the council take action”.
The Comet understands from conversations from firefighters that fire hazards created by hoarding are a growing problem the fire and rescue service is actively working on.
Police said last night that one man was taken to hospital with suspected smoke inhalation, but that no-one was thought to have been seriously injured in the fire – which has been deemed accidental.
Fire and rescue personnel came to the scene from Stevenage, Hitchin, Baldock & Letchworth, Welwyn, Welwyn Garden City, Ware and Hertford stations, as well as relief crews. Paramedics were also there.