Care home fire: Blaze at Stevenage care home may have been caused by exploding oxygen cylinder

Ambulances near the scene. Picture credit: Cave Art Films via Twitter.

Ambulances near the scene. Picture credit: Cave Art Films via Twitter. - Credit: Archant

An exploding oxygen cylinder may have been responsible for a fire at a Stevenage care home that left one person dead and six others hospitalised, it has emerged.

The fire broke out at Woodlands View Care Home in Magpie Crescent at about 4pm on Saturday.

Fire crews were quickly on the scene and put out the blaze – which was mainly contained to one room, but seven people had to be taken to Stevenage’s Lister Hospital, and Herts Fire & Rescue later confirmed a man in his 80s had sadly died.

A Hertfordshire County Council spokeswoman confirmed the fire may have been started by an explosion in an oxygen cylinder.

Chief Fire Officer Darryl Keen said: “We believe there was a small explosion involving an oxygen cylinder in the room and that would have played a part in the fire, but at this time, we can’t say whether that was the cause or as a result of the fire.”

He also praised care home staff and firefighters for their brave actions to get residents to safety and contain the blaze.

He said: “It’s absolutely certain that had the staff on site not reacted so quickly then the situation could have been even worse, but the joint working of all three emergency services alongside the care home staff has definitely prevented further loss here and that should be recognised.”

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There were 41 people in the premises at the time of the fire. Many of these got out themselves, but firefighters completed five rescues and helped another 10 from the property.

Some residents were evacuated to other care homes, while others were able to return as the home is split into self-contained blocks.

The county council has been supporting the residents it pays for at the home by liaising with their families and sending in social workers to offer support.

More updates will be posted here as we have them.

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