Dad tells how family fled Idle flat in laundrette blaze scare

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A fire crew at the scene A fire crew at the scene

A dad has told how he fled with his family as fire broke out in the laundrette below their flat.

Firefighters prevented a block of shops in Idle, Bradford, from being engulfed by the fire that started just after 7am yesterday at Quality Cleaning on Highfield Road.

Smoke was soon billowing out of the windows and across the street.

The road was closed while crews from four fire stations battled the flames and tried to prevent it from spreading to the rest of the block of businesses, which includes a hairdresser, fish and chip shop and Post Office.

The blaze involved most of the laundrette, but the firefighter in charge of the scene said that if the flames would have spread to the roof space the damage could have been much worse.

It took them around 45 minutes to put out the fire, and the road was re-opened shortly after.

The family living above the laundrette had managed to escape through thick black smoke before the fire got too bad.

Appliances from Bradford, Idle, Shipley and Rawdon, as well as an aerial appliance from Bradford, attended the incident.

Dave Cookson, situation manager, said: “The road was covered in smoke when we arrived here and we could see flames coming out of the building.

“We weren’t sure if anyone was inside so some firefighters in breathing apparatus searched the building while others were trying to put the fire out. “With laundrettes you can have chemicals in there, so we were aware that could be a danger.

“Buildings like this have a roof void, and the biggest danger was it would get into that area as it would have spread very quickly.

“That would have made things much more serious. Luckily we managed to stop that from happening.”

Paul Rattigan, 45, who works for Airedale Air Conditioning, lives in the flat above the laundrette with his wife Tracy and 19-year-old son Scott.

He was woken up by his wife to find smoke rising up to the flat, and they quickly evacuated the building and called the fire brigade. He said: “My wife was already up and she woke me up - she could smell the smoke.

“It was coming up through the floor and the back of the building was on fire.

“We managed to get out OK, but we were struggling to see where we were because of the smoke.

“It was really thick black stuff coming out the front of the building. “We think it is just smoke damage to the flat.

“The fire brigade were very quick. We only just rang them and they were here. I’d like to thank them for getting it under control so quick.”

A fire investigation officer was at the building for much of yesterday trying to establish the cause of the blaze.

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