Fire alarms at student halls blaze were working properly, insists landlord

  • Fire at Unite Students Parkway Gate halls

  • Some students claim fire alarms did not go off

  • Unite Students says all alarms were working and 'safety is  our first priority'

Students were forced to flee their halls after a serious fire at accommodation on Chester Street last night.

Nobody was injured during the blaze at Unite Students Parkway Gate and the MMU students were allowed to return to their rooms after the fire had been put out.

Many students claimed fire alarms in the building were not working at the time but Unite Students says all alarms were working and have been tested again since the incident.

More than 25 firefighters fought the blaze which started just after 10.30pm in the storeroom of the high-rise building.

Station manager Steve Forster said: “When the initial crews arrived on the scene they did a great job in tackling the fire using jets and a hose reel and their swift response stopped the fire from spreading.”

Investigations so far have indicated that the fire started accidentally.

Several students have since claimed that fire alarms in block one, where the fire took place, did not go off. An investigation is now taking place from the building company, Unite Students.

It wasn’t too scary because I was on the fifth floor and it took me about 10 minutes to evacuate

Lakis, 21, Cypriot student at MMU, has been living in block one for two years. He said: “I was doing my laundry when the fire broke loose. Last year they used to have alarms every week, so if the fire happened last year I wouldn’t have even moved.

“It wasn’t too scary because I was on the fifth floor and it took me about 10 minutes to evacuate. It took about two hours for everything to go back to normal.

“They just texted us today. The first text said that there would be fire alarm testing. The second text said they weren’t allowed to use sinks, showers or toilets until a further update.”

A statement from Unite Students said: “We take the safety of our residents extremely seriously. Our buildings are specifically designed to prevent fires from spreading and these measures ensured that the fire at our Parkway Gate property in Manchester was contained quickly in the store room where it started before being dealt with by the fire service. Trained Unite staff were on hand to help with the evacuation of the building which was underway without incident before the fire service arrived.

“We can confirm that the alarm system at the property worked as it should have. Safety is our first priority and we have tested all fire alarm systems today and have found them all to be fully functional.

“The cause of the fire is still under investigation and we will provide a further update once the results of that investigation are known. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Greater Manchester fire service for their quick response to this incident.”