FIREFIGHTERS rushed to a block of flats in Bournemouth town centre.

Three fire crews attended the scene in Bourne Avenue near St Andrew’s URC Church at around 1.15pm on Saturday, May 14, following multiple calls reporting smoke billowing from the building.

Efforts by a resident to extinguish the blaze before he escaped from the fourth floor flat assisted in preventing the fire from spreading.

When firefighters entered the address the fire was out. An investigation is under way to establish the cause of the incident, although it has been confirmed that it involved plastic.

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service group manager Stuart Gillion told the Daily Echo that other residents in the block were told to remain in their homes in line with the address’s stay put tall buildings evacuation policy.

Bournemouth Echo: Fire engines in Bourne Avenue, BournemouthFire engines in Bourne Avenue, Bournemouth

He praised the efforts of the male occupant in trying to tackle the incident.

“There was a lot of smoke from a very small fire because it was plastic. We don’t know what it was at this stage because it has all moulded,” said Mr Gillion.

“The gentleman made an effort to put the fire out before he made his own way out before he made his own way out because of the smoke in the flat.

“That made our jobs a bit more swift in terms of response.”

Mr Gillion said the fire service maintained the stay put policy until they had confirmation the fire was out.

The decision was made to briefly evacuate all fourth floor residents due to the smoke.

Fire engines from Westbourne, Redhill Park and Springbourne attended the scene, while police officers put a road closure in place along a stretch of Bourne Avenue.

Bournemouth Echo: Police cordon in Bourne Avenue while fire crews respond to an incidentPolice cordon in Bourne Avenue while fire crews respond to an incident

“The crews did remarkably well with the information they had,” said Mr Gillion. “We have a lot of high rise and old buildings in Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch. What comes with that is complex layouts and this is one of those buildings.

“Our firefighters do familiarisation visits and we have seen the immense benefit of that today by knowing the access to the fourth floor flats was from the fifth floor. Without that information we could have been looking for the fire, which could have been detrimental to the occupant.

“We update our site specific risk assessment information across our area so our crews are aware of the risks inherent with the building, inherent with the occupants and inherent with the contents – that was we are making it safer for the occupants and safer for the crews that are responding.”