Blaze at block of flats in Manchester

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Media caption“[There were] flames licking up the side of the building… it was pretty horrifying”

Three people have been treated for smoke inhalation after a fire at a block of flats in Manchester city centre.

The blaze on Saturday started on the ninth floor of a 12-storey building in Joiner Street, near the Arndale Centre.

The fire service said the flames had spread to other floors via wooden balconies and no external cladding was involved. Four properties were affected, it added.

An investigation is due to start later.

‘Pretty horrifying’

Two people were treated at the scene and a 23-year-old man was taken to hospital by a family member.

Five residents have been temporarily re-housed, police tweeted.

Image copyright Aman Thakur
Image caption The blaze spread from the ninth floor via wooden balconies
Image caption A number of floors were affected by the blaze

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue sent 12 appliances to deal with the blaze in the Northern Quarter, which began at about 16:00 GMT.

The eighth floor of the building – which adjoins a 20-storey block – suffered smoke damage, while floors 10 and 11 were affected externally.

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Media captionPeople inside the block of flats captured the blaze as it started to take hold

Shoppers watched as crews dealt with the fire. Witness Les Gunn said there had been “lots of smoke and debris”.

Mark Denby, who had been in a nearby cafe, said: “There were groups of people congregating on street corners looking up at a tower block and I saw… flames licking up the side of the building.

“It was pretty horrifying.”

‘Heroic job’

He said engines had arrived “in quick succession” and people applauded firefighters for “doing a heroic job”.

Andrew Hirst, 36, said cheering could be heard as they put out the blaze.

He said: “You could hear the crowd’s cheers as it was going down and you could see the torches from the firemen searching the burned out apartments right next door to the other apartments that were still frighteningly ablaze.”

Image copyright Manctraffic
Image caption The fire was in a block near the Manchester Arndale Centre

Earlier the fire service tweeted: “The fire had spread to multiple floors but we have things well under control here.”

It said emergency services, including police and paramedics, had done an “amazing job”.

Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell tweeted that the building was “safely evacuated”.

BBC Sport journalist Saj Chowdhury, who was near the scene, said the fire was “doused quite quickly”.

Joiner Street continues to be closed to traffic, police said.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Eyewitnesses said onlookers applauded as the fire was extinguished

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