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Fire at disused hostel

Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) were called to a serious fire at a disused hostel in Redditch last night (Monday 29 November).

The initial call, one of four, was received just before 11.30pm and reported a fire in the empty hostel, located on the junction of Church Road and Heathfield Road in Webheath.

The request for four pumps to attend was quickly increased to six, with three pumps from Redditch, two from Bromsgrove and one from Droitwich attending along with the Hydraulic Platform Ladder from Bromsgrove, plus the Command Support Unit and supporting pump from Malvern. Two extra pumps were then requested, with crews from Bewdley and Stourport also attending along with the Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP) from Worcester, the Environmental Protection Unit from Stourport and the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team from Droitwich.

There were no injuries and the fire was under control by 9.30am this morning (Tuesday 30 November), with one fire engine and the ALP remaining at the scene to continue damping down.

Mike Cunningham, Group Manager at HWFRS said: "As this was an unoccupied building, the fire was only noticed once the flames had broken through the roof and so fire crews arrived to find a fairly serious fire had taken hold.

"This was a difficult fire to tackle, partly due to the freezing temperatures and snowy conditions but also because of the restricted access to some parts of the property. As the hostel was no longer in use, metal shields had been fitted to doors and windows in the older section of the building to help keep it secure, and we had to call upon our USAR team to cut through these metal grills."

He confirmed that the hydraulic platform ladder and the ALP were used to help fight the fire from above in the older section of the hostel, while firefighters in breathing apparatus searched the newer section of the building, which was heavily smoke-logged.

The fire has caused severe damage to the hostel roof and original building, while the newer flat lets, situated to the right of the premises, suffered mostly smoke damage.

Fire investigators are now working closely with West Mercia Police to look into how the fire started.