Beeston man escapes home after huge fire engulfs top floor flat

A Beeston man has told of the terrifying moment he was forced to flee his home after a huge fire engulfed the attic above him.

By Daniel Sheridan
Friday, 7th May 2021, 11:59 am
Updated Friday, 7th May 2021, 6:19 pm

Lee Westerman, 46, lives in the basement of a property on Westbourne Street, Beeston, which was the scene of a huge blaze overnight - with more than seven fire trucks swarming the street.

Lee - who has lived in the property for 18 months - said he woke up at around 2am to the sounds of a window smashing to the floor outside his home.

An elderly neighbour screamed “your house is on fire”, Lee said.

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Lee Westerman outside the property in Beeston.

He quickly fled his basement flat and desperately tried to wake up a man who lived above him by smacking his windows.

After escaping the fire, the pair watched on as every emergency services vehicle descended on the street.

Shocking photographs of the damage to the property taken by the YEP show the smashed window, with the attic flat - which Lee said was unoccupied - gutted by the fire.

Fire officers used aerial ladders to contain the blaze - a scene Lee described as like “watching a waterfall”.

Police at the scene in Beeston.

Speaking outside his home just hours after the fire, Lee told the YEP he had been left with the clothes he was stood up in.

He was briefly allowed back into his flat in the early hours of the morning to grab a few items but said water damage had ruined his belongings including his television.

Lee said the sound of the glass window smashing to the ground woke him up before he escaped.

He said: “I woke up to smashing glass.

The attic of the property has been badly damaged.

“I came out and tried to wake my friend who lives above, trying to knock on his window.

“We got out and there were a lot of cop vans and aerial ladders.

“The street was fully blocked off it was mad.”

Lee has been taken in with his friend who lives on a neighbouring street who helped him overnight.

When he returned to his flat to get a coat, he found the rest of his belongings water damaged.

He fears he may now be rehomed.

Lee said: “Nobody got hurt, that is the main thing.

“The emergency services got here so fast and were great.”

Lee told the YEP he was “freezing” after escaping the blaze and watched on as the attic went up in smoke.

He said the other residents of the flats had gone with the Red Cross to find accommodation due to the damage in the property.

Lee added: “I am just lucky to have a friend who lives behind who took me in.

“Everyone on the street was outside, we were fearing for the damage.

“We were outside for hours.

“Thankfully it was just the attic on fire and nobody lives in that flat.

“Nobody knows how it started.”

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "Police are working with the fire service to establish the cause of the fire."

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