On Sunday 24th May, a fire broke out in Cityblock One, student housing located in the centre of Lancaster. The source of the fire, contained within the fourth floor kitchen, is not yet known.
The alarm started at around four o’clock in the afternoon, yet due to many false alarms in the past, some residents did not vacate the building immediately. Instead they remained inside while thick black smoke began to pour from the open windows of the top floor. One second floor resident re-entered the building and informed the others of the danger.
Due to the fire, the keypad locking system on the outer door failed. While four fire engines soon arrived and roped off the area, they were unable to enter the building through the door. Instead, the firemen had to scale the building and break in to the kitchen through the fourth floor windows.
Worried residents of the building gathered in the street outside Mognies takeaway, watching the proceedings. Many were unsure whether they would be able to return to their homes that evening, and made alternate plans. Fire safety precautions within the flat prevented the spread of the fire to the corridors and bedrooms, however, and the first, second and third floors were all unharmed. After a period of around an hour and a half, the fire crew departed and the inhabitants of the three lower floors we able to re-enter.
Fourth floor residents were left without kitchen facilities or electricity, but the structure of the building was left undamaged. Those students living in the fourth floor flat are said to have temporarily moved into friends’ houses. While it is not yet known when the renovations will be completed or how much this is likely to cost the company, Cityblock officials guarantee that the flat will definitely be finished in time for next year’s residents to move in during September.
In the mean time, several students are left without homes. It is thanks to the local fire departments’ quick response that the number is not higher.