Thirty four people evacuated during Moretonhampstead care home fire

By Paul James in Emergency Services

ELDERLY residents had to quit their rooms at a Moretonhampstead care home after a fire flared up in a second floor bedroom.

Some 34 people, including nine members of staff, were evacuated to the safety of a lounge at the Coppelia House residential care home in Court Street late on Friday night.

About 30 firefighters responded to the 999 call at 11.30pm when fire alarms at the home were triggered. Damage was confined to the one bedroom after clothes in wardrobe caught alight.

Fire investigators are trying to establish how the fire started. A spokesman confirmed that 20 per cent of the room was damaged with most of it being affected by smoke. A small section of corridor space was also smoke-damaged.

It’s understood two firefighters wearing breathing gear managed to knock out the flames quickly before they could spread into the roof space and cause substantial damage.

The initial response came from fire crews based in the town, Chagford and North Tawton. They asked for back-up from crews in Ashburton, Okehampton and Newton Abbot after spotting flames coming through the bedroom window.

Altogether six firefighters in breathing gear dealt with the incident which included the use of two hosereel jets, a safety jet, covering jet, a small extension ladder and three thermal imaging cameras.

One firefighter at the scene said: ‘The first two firefighters in breathing apparatus did a really good job because the fire could have got into the roof space.’

Dianne Gregory, business manager for Exeter-based Peninsula Care Homes which runs Coppelia House, said today (June 19): ‘Our staff followed established procedures to ensure resident safety. We can confirm there were no injuries.’

She added: ‘Many of our staff who live in Moretonhamstead came to the home to help – and we would like to thank all of them for this incredible response.

‘As a precaution, all residents were moved to the lounge although the fire was contained to one room.

‘We would like thank the fire service for their prompt response – and they continue to investigate.

‘Senior fire service personnel at the scene were impressed by the quick reactions of the staff on duty.’

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