Blaze drama at university flats

By Sharon AsplinABOUT 170 students were forced to leave their flats after a fire broke out in a university tower block.The postgraduate students had to leave the 14-storey Tawney Tower at Essex University just before midnight on Monday after flames were spotted in a fifth-floor kitchen.

By Sharon Asplin

ABOUT 170 students were forced to leave their flats after a fire broke out in a university tower block.

The postgraduate students had to leave the 14-storey Tawney Tower at Essex University just before midnight on Monday after flames were spotted in a fifth-floor kitchen.

It is thought the blaze was caused by a group of students who had been cooking earlier that evening and had gone to bed, leaving the hob on. It had become increasingly hotter and then ignited.


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A spokeswoman for the university said: “The kitchen has been written off, but mostly we have been left with smoke damage and our estates team hopes we will have everything back to normal in two weeks.

“Thankfully, nobody was hurt and all our procedures and alarms for evacuating the tower blocks went very smoothly and the fire officers on site said they were very pleased by the way the situation had been handled by the university.”

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Firefighters were called to the blaze on the Wivenhoe Park campus at 11.50pm on Monday. They stopped the fire spreading within 30 minutes and the flames were completely out about 10 minutes later.

Station Officer Graham Sellears said: “We found the kitchen well alight and the sixth floor heavily-smokelogged.

“We could see flames coming out of the windows and we thought we were looking at something quite serious.

“We would like to praise all the residents for their actions and for keeping calm. I understand from the officer in charge everyone had been evacuated satisfactorily and the alarm system worked well.”

sharon.asplin@eadt.co.uk

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