Firefighters rescue two men from 18-storey block of flats

Sat 13 Dec, 2014

Firefighters rescued two men from ninth-floor flats in Bletchley early this morning, and both were taken to hospital. (Note: Picture above taken today. Scroll to the bottom for a picture taken at an emergency exercise at Mellish Court earlier this year).

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service received the first of ten 999 calls to the fire at Mellish Court, an 18-storey block of flats in Melrose Avenue, at 1.22am. Crews from Bletchley, Great Holm, Broughton and Newport Pagnell attended, along with two support units.

Flames were coming out of the window when the first crew arrived. At its peak, there were more than 30 firefighters and officers at the scene.

The man whose flat was on fire was rescued from a kitchen window by firefighters using a 24 metre (75 foot) turntable ladder.

Another man in a nearby flat, who was affected by the smoke, was rescued by firefighters wearing breathing apparatus. Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's Control Room remained on the phone to him to,provide reassurance and fire survival guidance, while he was waiting to be rescued.

Watch Manager Andy Vernon from Bletchley Fire Station, who was one of the first firefighters at the scene, said: "The crews did an excellent job. I would like to praise them for their quick actions and for successfully carrying out these two rescues."

Calum Bell, Service Delivery Manager for Milton Keynes, said: “On arrival, initial crews from Bletchley, Great Holm, Broughton and Newport Pagnell were faced with a well-established fire involving a flat on the ninth floor, with persons reported as trapped and one male adult leaning out of a window of the flat on fire

“Using the aerial appliance, crews from Great Holm very quickly effected a rescue and he was transported to hospital. Simultaneously, crews made their way to various floors in the 18-storey building to give advice to occupants and help them to safety.

“Those same crews rescued one other male adult from an adjacent flat on the ninth floor and he was transported to hospital for treatment for smoke inhalation. At the same time Control Room staff were engaged in handling multiple calls, talking directly to residents trapped in their flats and giving them fire survival guidance.

“Working in challenging circumstances, the attending crews also helped numerous occupants to safety. At the same time a number remained within their flats and in contact with the Control Room as part of a “stay put” strategy where it was safe and appropriate to do so.  

“The Incident Commander and his crews worked extremely hard and brought the fire under complete control by 4am. They contained the fire to the flat of origin, which was 100 per cent damaged by fire, and worked extremely hard to limit further damage to adjacent flats.”

Firefighters used two jets to put out the fire, The initial crews who attended were able to start leaving the scene between 5am and 6am, and relief crews remained until about 9.30am.
The British Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Service, whose vehicle is based at Bletchley Fire Station, attended to look after a number of residents, including a couple with a baby. Representatives from Milton Keynes Council's Emergency Planning and Building Control teams also attended. 

Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service and Thames Valley Police have launched an investigation into the cause of the fire.