Leeds city centre fire: Heroic neighbours raise fire alarm after spotting balcony blaze in block of flats
Two heroic neighbours have described the moment they raised the fire alarm when a blaze broke out at their Leeds city centre block of flats.
The fire broke out on a balcony in the Blue apartment block, in Little Neville Street, at around 8pm on Tuesday.
Resident Jamie Lake, 27, was cleaning a window on his balcony when he was alerted to the fire by someone shouting on a nearby bridge.
He looked down and saw a "ball of flames" on a balcony two floors down, on the eighth floor.
Jamie's girlfriend, Imogen Pollard, said: “I thought Jamie was joking, but he came running over and said there was a fire on the balcony about two floors down from us.
“It was a complete ball of flames.
“We panicked and sounded the fire alarm and got everyone out of the building down the stairs. It was scary, as we didn’t know how it was going to spread.
“Everyone had got out of the building and then we heard the glass shatter, it cracked from the heat and everyone gasped at once.”
At least 30 residents called emergency services to report the fire and eight crews were sent to the building.
The three occupants of the flat had managed to escape after hearing the alarm raised by Jamie and Imogen, who both work in sales.
Imogen, 24, added: "I overheard one of the occupants saying she was fast asleep and woke up to the sound of the fire alarm, before she saw the fire on the balcony.
"I’m just so glad my boyfriend was about on the balcony to spot it. We didn’t know how dangerous it could have been.
"If no one had sounded that alarm, then it could have been worse and people could have been stuck in the building."
Statement from the fire service
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service is investigating the cause of the fire and it has released a full statement on the incident.
The fire was first reported at 8.18pm.
All occupants of the flat involved in the fire had safely escaped without injury when crews arrived.
A fire spokesperson said: "The fire started on the balcony and spread into the flat which was badly damaged as a result.
"Firefighters quickly tackled and contained the fire which did not spread beyond the flat.
"Firefighters used an aerial appliance to externally tackle the fire as well as firefighters tackling the fire internally. Specialist fans were used to clear the smoke.
"Properties below the fire also suffered some water damage as a result."
All residents in the apartment block, which contains around 60 flats, were safely evacuated.
The spokesperson added: "Most occupants of the building were able to return to their homes after the fire, except those directly affected.
"The response to the fire was multi-agency involving police, ambulance, Leeds City Council and Yorkshire Water."
Crews left the building by 1am and a fire investigation into the cause of the fire is underway today.
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