Leeds flats blaze escape drama

Cromwell Heights, Burmantofts.
Cromwell Heights, Burmantofts.
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A man trapped by a fire in his blazing seventh-floor Leeds flat smashed his way to safety around 70 feet from the ground.

The man, known to residents as David, escaped from the flat to a small balcony outside a public landing, before using a chair to smash through a wire-reinforced window to get back into the tower block.

The 39-year-old was then helped by firefighters and paramedics who treated him for smoke inhalation and shock.

Fire struck at Cromwell Heights, a 10-storey block of flats, in Burmantofts, Leeds, at 8.15pm on Tuesday.

Fire crews at Gipton were mobilised when the alarm was raised.

The caller said a man was believed to be trapped in the flat.

The Gipton crews were led by watch commander Phil Rhodes.

He said the man had been asleep in the living room of his flat when the fire started in the same room.

Mr Rhodes said: “He used a chair to break through. He broke a window to get back into the building.

“He had got out by the time we got there. We gave him first aid.

“The fire was in his living room where he had fallen asleep.

“There were no smoke alarms – someone will be going down to fit one.”

A fire investigation unit went to the scene with the Gipton crews.

The cause of the fire is believed to have been a discarded or dropped cigarette.

Next door neighbour, Hilda Crompton, 89, said: “I heard these big bangs, and there were one or two neighbours looking across from other balconies.

“Smoke was coming out and the firemen couldn’t get in his flat.”

The flat suffered serious fire and smoke damage and three fire crews, using breathing apparatus, went in to put out the blaze.

The man was handed over to paramedics and was given further treatment in an ambulance at the scene.

Since the incident on Tuesday night, the man’s fire-damaged Burmantofts flat has been sealed and boarded up, as has the smashed window.

Leeds Civic Hall.

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