Dramatic pictures show how front door stopped spread of high rise flat fire

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) has released images to reassure high rise residents that serious fires are often contained to the flat that they start in.

WYFRS was called to an incident at Marlborough Towers on Park Lane in Leeds yesterday (July 21) at 7:31pm, where discarded smoking materials caused a fire in a flat on the 15th floor.

The control room received around 15 calls reporting smoke coming from a flat in the 16 storey city centre block. Following further questioning it was confirmed that the fire was contained within a single flat on the 15th floor.

Crews from Leeds, Killingbeck, Hunslet and Moortown stations attended along with specialist officers trained to deal with and coordinate this type of incident.

WYFRS have confirmed that no one was injured and emphasise that at no stage were other flats involved or affected by the fire.

The dramatic pictures show the front door of the flat looking seemingly unaffected, but look further and you see the damage – highlighting the difference a closed door can make in stopping the spread of fire.

Deputy Chief Fire Officer, Dave Walton said: “This incident serves as a reminder of the devastation that can be caused by a fire in a high rise property.

“Perhaps more importantly though, in light of recent tragic events at Grenfell Tower, it is a powerful illustration of how effective compartmentation can work, and that the simple act of closing a well maintained, well fitted fire resistant door can halt the spread of a significant fire.

“The occupant took shelter with a neighbour whilst the fire was in progress and our crews were dealing with it.

“The response of WYFRS to the incident was well rehearsed and very effective, meaning that we were able to deal with the fire with no injury to anyone and minimal damage outside of the affected flat.

“I would like to acknowledge the calm response of all other residents which, in turn, allowed our firefighters to do their job effectively”


Advice for residents living in high-rise accommodation:

Know your escape plan:

Make sure you are familiar with emergency evacuation procedures provided by the landlord or owner for your building.

Make an escape plan so that you and your family know what to do if there is a fire in your flat.

Practice this plan, make sure everyone understands it and knows where the door key is.

Should a fire break out: 

If there is a fire in another flat in the building, you are usually safest in your own home unless you are affected by the heat or smoke.

If it is too dangerous to follow your planned escape route because stairs and hallways are full of smoke, ring 999 and stay inside the safest room. Keep the doors closed and use towels or bedding to block the smoke at the bottom of the door.

Use the stairs, not the lift, when leaving the building in the event of a fire.

If there is a fire, never assume that someone else has called 999 – make the call yourself.

Fire safety in your building:

Keep exits and passageways clear of any obstructions.

Ensure doors to stairways are not damaged or faulty and report any defects promptly to the landlord or owner for your building.

Close all internal doors at night to prevent the spread of fire.

Never tamper with internal fire mains (dry riser) inlets on landings. These provide water to firefighters in an emergency and could cost lives if not functioning properly.

If you see a dry riser vandalised, report it immediately to the landlord or owner for your building.

Never use or store bottled gas cylinders in high-rise flats.

Never park so you block access to high-rise flats. Access roads are designed so fire engines can get as close as possible to fight fires.

Don’t start cooking if you are very tired or have drank a lot of alcohol – never use chip pans, use oven chips instead.

If you smoke, make sure you put cigarettes out properly, and don’t smoke in bed or while sleepy.

Check your smoke alarms regularly.

Further safety information is available by following this link – High Rise Safety Advice Booklet