A kitchen fire in East Slope has forced students to move out, in a situation an eye witness says: “it’s a miracle no one died.” While no one was harmed in the incident, the witness has questioned the way in which the university responded to the fire.
The fire was large enough that it needed to be put out by the fire brigade. Causing enough damage to force the students living in the flat to be moved into alternative accommodation.
Ms. Hubbard, a 1st year student who lives near where the fire took place, told The Badger: “Security always take forever to respond to alarms in-fact the link between security and fire alarms always seem to be ‘broken’.”
“We woke up at about 7:30am Saturday morning to shouting and banging and noticed black smoke pouring out of the flat opposite. An email from the building manager suggested the fire was small but everyone in the flat, and the adjoining flat, have been moved out, windows are cracked, the whole kitchen is melted.”
Speaking on the university’s response she said she was: “not sure how long it took for security [to arrive], but it was a while. The emergency services were very quick to the scene though.” Further stating that she was: “annoyed with the handling of the situation and that the ‘higher powers’ deemed it a ‘small’ fire” and that “it’s a miracle no one died in that to be honest, [it] could’ve been so much worse.”
Ms. Hubbard also said: “we spotted students actually trespassing in the flat, as the security/maintenance had failed to secure the property. They’ve now boarded it up, but for the whole weekend, the belongings in their room were very vulnerable to theft.”
This is in contrast the university’s version of events. A university spokesperson told the paper: “We are very grateful to the security team from Sussex Estates and Facilities who acted immediately and worked with the security services to ensure the safety of our residents was a top priority and we can report that nobody was hurt.”
Further stating that “All students were looked after well by the University’s Student Service team who were on site immediately, along with the SEF Residences Management team. All students have been provided with alternative accommodation of their choosing on campus, along with credit for food etc and we are working with them and the University’s student contents insurance provider Endsleigh, to help make claims where required.”
East Slope residents were also sent an email with information on how not to cause fires within their residence. With advice such as: “never leave any cooking unattended which includes the hob as well as any other appliances such as toasters, microwaves and any other appliances you may use.”
The building has now been boarded up, with all the windows around the kitchen area now covered. Smoke damage can be seen around the door, as well as melted guttering on the outside of the building.