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Cause of fire in flats at Hauteville is uncertain

News | Published:

INVESTIGATIONS began yesterday into the cause of the fire that caused major damage to two upper floor flats at a Lower Hauteville property on Monday night.

The Guernsey Fire & Rescue Service duty officer on the night was Tim Falla, who returned to the scene yesterday to meet tenants and the insurance assessor.

But he said that his initial assessment had not led to any firm conclusion as to what caused the blaze.

‘I’ve not seen smoking materials,’ he said.

‘But the main thing you want to determine is if there is any likelihood that it had been started deliberately and I’ve no reason to suspect that.’

He anticipated that the insurance company would be calling in forensic experts from the UK.

Fire broke out in the third floor flat shortly after 9pm and while it and the flat above were extensively damaged by fire and smoke, Mr Falla said that there was some water damage to the apartments on the lower floors.

He had been in touch with the landlord, who was out of the island, and the owner had also spoken to some of the residents.

After the alarm was raised, all those in the building got out ahead of the fire service’s arrival. The top floor flat was unoccupied and the resident was due back in the island last night.

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Mr Falla said that there had not been an issue of premises on either side of the site being affected, and residents were able to remain in their homes.

Two tenders plus the turntable ladder were called to the scene, along with four additional firefighters, taking the total attending to 16.

Mr Falla said that the firefighter on the ladder went up to assess the scene from above and he was able to give guidance to the crew commander on the ground.

However, those arriving back home after the fire service cordoned off the area were unable to get in for a couple of hours while the blaze was tackled.

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One man, who asked not to be named, was particularly concerned since his two grown-up children were the occupants of the flat where the fire broke out.

However, he had been able to speak to them by phone and could see that they were among residents who were sitting on the pavement outside the building.

Another resident evacuated from the property was Haygan McDaid, who shares the second floor flat with his father, who was in the UK.

‘I’d just finished tidying up,’ he said. ‘I heard the alarm and got out.’

On his way out of the building he knocked on the door of a neighbour’s flat and she joined him in getting out.

Mark Ogier

By Mark Ogier
News reporter

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