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Man falls to his death after climbing out of a window to escape tower block fire

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 25/09/2022 Berny Torre
A man has died and eight people are in hospital after a fire ripped through a Bristol tower block - Tom Wren/SWNS © Tom Wren/SWNS A man has died and eight people are in hospital after a fire ripped through a Bristol tower block - Tom Wren/SWNS

A man is believed to have fallen to his death after climbing out of a window to escape a fire at a tower block in Bristol.

Emergency services were called to the blaze on the top floor of Twinnell House on Wills Drive, off Stapleton Road, in Easton, shortly after 2.15am on Sunday.

Avon and Somerset Police said the fire was "quickly extinguished" but one man died in the incident.

Eight people are currently in hospital - seven for treatment for smoke inhalation and one for minor burns - while three were treated by paramedics at the scene.

Around 90 residents have been evacuated and a rest centre has been set up at St Nicholas Of Tolentino RC Church at Lawfords Gate, where Bristol City Council are providing welfare support to around 40 people.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police confirmed that it is believed "the man fell after he climbed out of a window to try and escape the fire".

Superintendent Tony Blatchford, of Avon and Somerset Police, said a full investigation into the incident would be carried out.

"This is a tragic incident in which a man has lost his life," Supt Blatchford said.

"While formal identification has not yet been carried out, we believe we know who the man is and have informed his next of kin. Our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.

"Enquiries into what happened have already begun and we will work closely with the fire service to fully understand what started the fire and how the man sadly died.

"I'd like to thank those who have been evacuated from their homes for their co-operation and understanding and promise them all agencies are working hard to enable them to return home as quickly as possible."

Willis Drive is closed while emergency services remain at the scene, with the cordon around the building expected to remain until it has been assessed to be safe.

Marvin Rees, mayor of Bristol, tweeted: "My thoughts today are with the family and friends of the person who tragically lost their life in the fire at Twinnell House.

"We are providing welfare support and emergency accommodation to the affected residents. Thank you to the emergency services for their swift response."

Avon Fire and Rescue Service sent 11 fire engines to the scene, along with two turntable ladders and other specialist vehicles.

Dave Hodges, duty group commander for Avon Fire and Rescue Service, said: "On arrival crews were faced with a serious fire on the 16th floor and deployed crews wearing breathing apparatus to tackle the fire and assist residents.

"The upper floors have been damaged by smoke and fire, and water damage has affected many flats on lower floors.

"The fire has now been contained and fire crews remain in attendance making the scene safe. We are working with our partner agencies to support the local community during this difficult time.

"Our sincere condolences go to the friends and family of the deceased."

South Western Ambulance Service sent seven double-crewed ambulances, one rapid response vehicle, an operations officer, doctor and the Hazardous Area Response Team to the incident.

Yassin Mohamud, Green councillor for Lawrence Hill, said he was "heartbroken" by what had happened.

"As a councillor, community member and a father, I am heartbroken by what has taken place at Twinnell House this morning," Mr Mohamud said.

"It is so sad to hear that one of the residents has lost his life in such tragic circumstances."

A spokeswoman for Bristol City Council said affected residents were being supported and would be helped into emergency accommodation.

"Our thoughts are with the family of the individual who has tragically lost their life in this incident," she said.

"We're grateful for the swift action of all emergency services and council officers involved to tackle this fire and support residents to the nearby place of safety.

"Officers are currently supporting the efforts under way to assess the damage and understand how the fire started.

"Residents affected by this tragic incident are being supported and those who require it will be helped into emergency accommodation while their homes remain inaccessible."

Concerns were raised over cladding at the block in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster in 2017.

Legal secretary Gina Massiah, 57, who used to live in Twinnell House, told the Sun at the time: “When they put the cladding up I was quite surprised.

“It looks like brick but when you touch it it feels like it is made of polystyrene. There are no sprinklers and no alarm.”

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