Sunderland care home building suffers 'extensive' damage in blaze which saw six people taken to hospital

A Sunderland care home building has been severely damaged in a fire which saw six people taken to hospital – and will not be able to be used for ‘some time’.

Friday, 26th June 2020, 5:53 pm

Workmen at the Croft Care Home in Ettrick Grove, Barnes, raised the alarm with staff at around 10.30am on Friday, June 26, after spotting a fire in the roof void of the building.

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Workers began to evacuate 27 residents from the premises, with eight helped to safety from upstairs rooms by fire crews.

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More than 40 firefighters tackled the blaze.

The North East Ambulance Service confirmed that three patients were taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital by ambulance and another three to South Tyneside District Hospital using patient support vehicles.

It is understood that two patients were residents of the home, with the remainder care staff and workmen.

None of those taken to hospital were believed to have life-threatening conditions.

First aid was also given to a number of people on scene, with the evacuated residents moved to a nearby care home to be looked after.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service's area manager Richard Rickaby praised his teams who worked to help people to safety and bring the blaze under control.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) said a total of 43 firefighters worked at the scene at the height of the blaze, with crews dispatched from all over the region.

In an update to the Echo later on Friday, a spokeswoman for the service said that the building had suffered ‘extensive damage’ in the incident and would not be accessible for ‘some time’.

While TWFRS’s presence at the scene has now been scaled back as of 5pm on Friday, crews are continuing to dampen down at the site and are expected to remain at the scene for the foreseeable future while work goes on.

A cordon was thrown around the scene as the emergency services worked together on the incident.

An investigation will also be launched in due course. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

In an interview with the Echo at the scene, TWFRS area manager Richard Rickaby praised the firefighters who rescued the eight care home residents from a smoke-logged area of the building.

He said: “They have had to perform what we call a snatch rescue and assist or carry the residents out.

A photograph taken by a resident after the fire broke out at the Croft Care Home.

“The residents had different levels of mobility. There was smoke throughout the first floor.

“The fire has spread through the roof void towards the annexe and front of the building.

“Smoke and possibly fire has then come down to the first floor.”

Northumbria Police also attended the incident on Friday, with the road closed off to traffic for several hours while the emergency services tackled the fire and ensured the safety of residents.

A structural engineer was also called in after concerns were raised about the stability of a side building due to damage caused by the fire.

The fire service has also issued its thanks to the Salvation Army, whose volunteers turned out at the incident to provide refreshments to the emergency services during the hot weather.

Northumbria Police officers worked to support firefighters at the scene.

The home, which is near to Barnes Park, is an independent home which helps look after residents including a number who have dementia.

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Care staff worked to make sure people had a place to rest as the incident went on.