A MAN died and others were forced to jump for their lives after a fire broke out at a Bournemouth hostel early yesterday.

An investigation has been launched to discover the cause of the blaze at the DKB Services building which provides supported accommodation for vulnerable people in St Swithun’s Road South.

Five fire crews alerted to the blaze at around 2.15am rescued four people. Two men had managed to escape before the emergency services arrived.

A Dorset Police spokesman said: “One man was found unconscious in the building and, despite the efforts of paramedics, he died a short time later at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital.

“Dorset police and Dorset Fire and Rescue Service are investigating the cause of the fire and cause of his death. Details of the deceased will not be released until his next of kin have been traced and notified.”

At midday yesterday, two police cars and two fire vehicles were parked outside the building, which was cordoned off by police tape. The road was closed to traffic.

Hotel worker, Ashley Smedberg, 22, who has a bedsit in the building, said he saw other residents jumping from windows and a man’s body being brought out by firefighters.

He added: “I was in the kitchen with my friend when I heard the fire alarm going off.

“I ran into the living room and when I ran back out there was black smoke everywhere.

“I saw people jumping out of windows. When the fire brigade arrived we told them an older guy was still in there. They went in and got him, but he didn’t make it as far as we know.”

Another occupant, James Box, 20, said: “Ash and another guy Andy were at the alarm box trying to turn it off when we could smell smoke. Ash and I went in with coats over our faces to try and get people out, but the smoke hurt our eyes.

“A couple of people had to jump out the windows and one guy died. I saw them bringing him out on a stretcher.”

Fire investigation officer Mick Stead said: “Crews were faced with a very severe fire on the ground floor.

“They rescued four occupants using ladders and attempted to stop the fire spreading to the adjacent property.

“They worked under extremely difficult conditions to protect the property and save lives.”

The East Dorset Coroner has been informed and an inquest will be held.

DKB offers a wide range of accommodation in the Bournemouth area, providing supported housing for single homeless people and those completing rehabilitation treatment.

A “Supporting People” provider, DKB also has self-contained flats and studios for those who no longer need support.

• Dorset Police are appealing for witnesses to phone 01202 222222.