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Life-threatening Bournemouth blaze 'was started by squatters' candles'
A BLAZE that left three people in hospital with serious burns could have been caused accidentally when squatters used candles to try to keep warm, according to Dorset Fire and Rescue Service.
Investigators concluded there were no suspicious circumstances after the life-threatening fire in a derelict house in Wellington Road, Bournemouth.
Station officer Richard Coleman described the incident as ‘absolutely life-threatening’ and added: “They would not have survived in there for much longer.”
He added: “There were a couple of rescues, one was from a door on the side of the building where we were able to lead someone down the stairs.
“Another person had to be carried out. They were really unwell – I think our crews saved some lives.”
Deputy Mayor of Bournemouth Cllr Phil Stanley-Watts said he would raise the issue of derelict housing at the next full council meeting on Tuesday December 10.
He also pledged to pay tribute to the emergency services for their heroic work over the weekend.
Two men and a woman were rushed to hospital following the incident, which led to the closure of Wellington Road and Holdenhurst Road at 1.45pm on Sunday.
Two of the casualties were taken to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital and one to Poole Hospital.
A number of other people had made their way to safety before the arrival of the emergency services.
Neighbours have told how the house has been used by squatters for several years.
Christopher Button said: “It was an accident waiting to happen.
“It doesn’t really surprise me at all and really something needs to have been done about this quite a long time ago.”
Another nearby resident, who does not wish to be named, said during the summer months squatters often started fires in the garden and were drinking and shouting.
The fire broke out on the ground floor and quickly spread to the rest of the house.
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