Workmen's lucky escape from blaze

By Sharon AsplinTHREE workmen had a lucky escape after fire broke out in the roof of the building in which they were working.Emergency services were called to the St Giles Sheltered Housing complex in Moor Hall Lane, East Hanningfield, just before noon yesterday.

By Sharon Asplin

THREE workmen had a lucky escape after fire broke out in the roof of the building in which they were working.

Emergency services were called to the St Giles Sheltered Housing complex in Moor Hall Lane, East Hanningfield, just before noon yesterday.

Fire crews from Great Baddow, South Woodham Ferrers, Wickford and Maldon were sent to the scene, plus three ambulances, a rapid response vehicle and the incident support unit manager from headquarters.


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Ambulance technician Debbie Smail said: “The three were using an environmental vacuum in the loft space above 12 single-storey units. They were in protective equipment including face masks as they were dealing with asbestos.

“They told us the power suddenly went out and their masks started to fill with smoke. One of the men managed to make a hole in the roof by punching through the felt and then knocking slates off.

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“When he looked out he saw that the roof was on fire. He and a colleague made the hole bigger and managed to clamber out and down from the roof.

“The third man managed to jump down from the loft and then made his way out through the building.”

All three suffered mild smoke inhalation and were taken to Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, for treatment.

The two men who escaped through the roof were a 19-year-old from Pitsea and a 57-year-old from London, while the man who escaped through the building was a 23-year-old from Pitsea.

Ms Smail added: “All three have had an incredibly lucky escape. It must have been a terrifying experience for all three. Their actions undoubtedly saved their lives.

“In total 12 of the units, which house young adults with learning disabilities, have been gutted by the fire. It is fortunate that staff managed to get all the residents out without any injuries or this could have turned into a very serious incident.”

sharon.asplin@eadt.co.uk

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