Seven rescued as flats bin blaze sparks panic

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SEVEN people – including a pregnant woman and a child – were rescued when arsonists set fire to a block of flats.

Fire crews mounted the rescue operation at the complex in Hirst Gate, Mexborough, after bins were set alight deliberately in the basement of the building.

Officers were called to the converted house after smoke from the fire began seeping into the flats, sparking panic among residents.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said bins in a bin store used by the residents had been deliberately torched.

By the time crews from Edlington and Dearne fire station arrived at the scene, the bins were well ablaze with smoke spreading throughout the two storey building.

Officers pulled on breathing apparatus and entered the premises, guiding those inside to safety, while the pregnant woman was advised by 999 operators to stand beside a window until firefighters were able to reach her.

The seven people – four men in their 30s and 40s, a woman in her 20s, a four-year-old child, and the mum-to-be in her 30s – were all escorted from the premises as fellow officers tackled the flames in the bin store using hose reels.

Officers then spent hours at the scene, ventilating the flats and damping down after the Bonfire Night blaze at around 9.30pm.

Only the pregnant woman required hospital treatment and was taken to Mexborough’s Montagu Hospital by ambulance for a precautionary check-up, but was allowed home after being seen by medics.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “It could have been quite a serious incident but fortunately everyone got out of the building safely.

“The pregnant woman was taken to hospital purely for a check-up.”

The flats suffered some slight smoke damage in the incident but all the residents were allowed to return to their homes before midnight after officers made the property safe.

Anyone with information about the blaze should call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.