Man rescued as fire drama shuts Prom

Fire badly damaged a seafront flat on the Promenade.
Fire badly damaged a seafront flat on the Promenade.

Neighbours came rushing to the rescue of an elderly man when a blaze tore through the flat directly above his head.

Shocked passersby looked on as firefighters poured water on the flames coming from the seafront building in South Shore yesterday.

Blackpool's promenade was closed off as firefighters tackled a blaze at a block of flats at the corner of Dean Street and the Promenade, South Shore

Blackpool's promenade was closed off as firefighters tackled a blaze at a block of flats at the corner of Dean Street and the Promenade, South Shore

The owner of the next-door Sands Hotel, on the Promenade, went inside to try to put out the fire while one brave woman went to help the elderly resident out of his first floor flat.

The woman, who gave her name only as Libby, said: “I went into the building and I was beating on the door.

“I was so worried for him – the building had caught fire by then.

“The first thing I thought was that he was in there and I had to go in and get him.”

Meanwhile Jimmy Cameron, owner of the Sands Hotel, poured water on the flames but by that time they were out of control.

He told The Gazette: “It was bad in there. There was a lot of smoke.

“I got to the first landing and I just thought it was a wee fire but the next minute it went up.

“It was a real shock. You just don’t expect something like that.”

He and his wife offered to let the man stay at their hotel until he is able to return home.

Three fire engines were called to the blaze at 4.30pm yesterday, while firefighters were sent inside with breathing apparatus following reports there may be people inside.

Watch manager Colin Hickson, based at South Shore fire station, said everybody had already got out and nobody was unaccounted for.

He added: “We contained the fire to the single flat and contained the water damage from below.

“Our actions were quick and decisive in stopping any further damage.”

The upper floor was badly damaged in the blaze and firefighters were yesterday dismantling part of the exterior wall.

The cause of the blaze is still under investigation although it is being treated as accidental.

Shocked passersby said they had seen workmen on the building earlier in the day with a blowtorch, something firefighters were last night investigating.

Nicole Roberts, of Condor Grove, said: “We were in the shops on Waterloo Road and I smelt smoke. I said we needed to go and see what it was.

“I panicked because my brother works in the Viking Hotel over the road but luckily it wasn’t there.”

Jean Hood, of Huddersfield, was staying in a guest house on Dean Street, just metres away from the blaze.

She said: “I saw a lady fetching an old fellow out.

“I just saw everybody looking up from my window and me being nosy I came out and had a look.

“It’s lucky it wasn’t worse. It could have spread to the hotel.”

Georgina Barnett, of Bagot Street, said: “All the flames were on the exterior.

“I saw some workmen up there with a blow lamp so I don’t if that was anything to do with it.

“I just hope it’s insured.”

Police closed a section of the Promenade for several hours while firefighters worked on the building.