Students left gutted after blaze destroys Blackpool apartment

Reporter:

Lois Hough

A STUDENT from Deeside has spoken of her devastation after a fire tore through her home and destroyed her possessions.

Lauren Hough, 21, a third-year wildlife photography student at Blackpool and the Fylde College, had only moved into the property on Palatine Road, Blackpool, two weeks ago before returning home for the summer.

She lost vital coursework, clothes, furniture and camera equipment worth hundreds of pounds in the fire.

Fire crews spent six hours battling the blaze at the three-storey terraced property which is thought to have broken out in the roof space in the early hours of Friday.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service evacuated people from a neighbouring property as a precaution and closed the road for several hours.

Lauren told the Leader: “I’m devastated.

“We had all been so excited to move into a bigger and better house and now this.

“Our contract was not due to start until September so we hadn’t purchased home insurance yet and cannot claim for our losses.

“I’ve lost notes and coursework from the previous two years, clothes and new furniture I had bought.

“My housemate lost a television and DVD player, and another who is a musical theatre student lost all of her dance equipment.”

Lauren, a former Connah’s Quay High School pupil, shared the house with musical theatre student Jessica Brett, 20, from Nottinghamshire, and fellow photopgraphy students Tom Buck, 19, from Preston, and Melanie Chlond, 20, from Chorley.

The pals are due to return to the seaside town and resume their studies in September.

Now the hunt is on for a new home.

Lauren added: “All of the university-approved student accomodation has been taken so now we have to find something else which will probably be more expensive and further away from the university buildings.

“Our landlord has offered us an alternative property but it has no living room so we will have to eat our meals in our bedroom.”

Six crews used breathing apparatus, extension ladders and thermal image cameras to tackle the blaze.

Forensic investigators were trying to establish the cause on Friday.

Duty officer Ian Garrod said: “Officers found what they described as a significant fire which had been under way for about three hours.

“The crews initially did not know if there were people still in the building, and because of the construction of the building and the length of time the fire had been burning, it had gone through all the floors and the priority then became stopping the fire crossing over into the neighbouring properties.”

Crews also rescued reptiles belonging to the current owners as they searched the property.

“A bearded dragon lizard and two rare oriental toads survived the fire.We salvaged a tank to put them in and the owner has taken them away,” he added.

No-one was hurt in the fire.

See full story in the Leader

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