Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Race to the Rescue as Fire Rages

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Race to the Rescue as Fire Rages

Article excerpt

Byline: Dave Robson

A Pensioner suffered serious burns when a fire ripped through a Teesside old folks' home early today.

Frightened residents were led to safety as thick smoke filled the St David's Nursing Home on Lord Street, Redcar, at about 5am.

At its height, 60 firefighters battled the intense blaze, which is believed to have started on the first floor of the two storey BUPA-run home.

An 80-year-old woman was today in a serious condition at James Cook University Hospital after suffering burns.

Another resident also needed hospital treatment for smoke inhalation, a Tees East and North Yorkshire Ambulance spokeswoman confirmed.

Firefighters, police, staff, neighbours and ambulance crews all worked to lead the home's 42 residents - many frail and elderly - to safety.

They were taken across the road to the Plimsoll Line pub, which opened as an emergency centre after managers supervising overnight decorating saw the blaze.

Work is now underway to find residents alternative beds.

Fire crews were expected to stay at the devastated home all day, damping down.

No cause has yet been established for the blaze.

The home is a former vicarage, but the fire broke out in a newer extension. The old part was unaffected.

Andy Baxter, 23, who lives near the complex, told how he carried several elderly ladies from the home to the pub.

He said: "When I saw what was happening, I got dressed and rushed over to give a hand.

"I did think people might have died in there.

"I helped carry three people across in chairs, walked a couple over and physically carried three in my arms.

"One old lady said to me 'have I died?' When I said 'no love, you're all right', she just said: 'I haven't been carried for a long time!'

Divisional Officer Mike Picknett, of Cleveland Fire Brigade, said ten fire engines, a hydraulic platform and an emergency tender attended.

He said: "This was a serious and significant fire in hot, smoky, arduous conditions. …

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