A FIRE that ripped through flats above a Blackpool takeaway could have spelled tragedy had council officers not acted swiftly and banned people from living there two months ago.
Six fire engines were used to tackle the fire at the flats above the Turkish Kebab House on Church Street in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
An investigation into the blaze, which started at around 5am, revealed the ceiling in one of the flats had collapsed, and the only route out of the building was through the front door – the seat of the fire.
Today The Gazette can reveal housing enforcement officers from Blackpool Council visited the building following an earlier fire in November. They were so concerned by the lack of fire precautions they banned the landlord from letting the flats.
Coun Gillian Campbell, Blackpool cabinet member for housing and public protection, said: “It doesn’t bear thinking about what could have happened if we hadn’t insisted these tenants leave.
“The three flats above the takeaway were missing all the basic requirements – there was no fire detection in place, no fire doors and the space between the shop and flats would not have adequately stopped a fire from spreading.
“A decision was made to stop people living in the flat with immediate effect.
“The officer was so concerned by the lack of fire precautions, the landlord was immediately served with an emergency prohibition notice.”
Tuesday morning’s fire is believed to have been sparked by an electrical fault in the building.
Firefighters were initially told people may have been trapped inside, but no-one was inside when they searched the property.
Coun Campbell added: “This case highlights exactly why landlords need take the advice that we give to them and reinforces the need for us to take strong action to prevent the loss of life.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said fire officers took a fastidious approach to making sure premises are clear of fire hazards when they carry out inspections.
In Tuesday’s fire at the premises, eight firefighters with breathing apparatus entered the building to make sure it was clear.
He said: “We were relieved to discover no-one was inside at the time, but there could have been someone unconscious inside if they were living there.
“This case illustrates how we view fire protection and prevention.”