Newtown fire: Residents say they 'don't feel safe' in Birmingham block of flats after blaze

ITV News Central Reporter Lewis Warner hears from people who are concerned about living in a block of flats in Birmingham after a fire broke out

People living in a block of flats in Newtown, Birmingham have told ITV Central they fear for their safety after a 46-strong fire crew were called to tackle a blaze. 

One resident, who lives in a flat in the building, David O'Neil recalls the moment he was calling out for his daughter and partner, to ensure they had been safely rescued.

"I tried to go out into the communal area of our floor up on the 12th floor and I couldn’t even see the door that was right in front to me to go to the stairs.

"And instantly I saw the light of one of the fire marshals helmets and they got hold of me, pulled me downstairs."

His comments come as ten fire engines were called to bring the fire under control at 5.40pm on Wednesday November 24 at James House.

David tells ITV News Central how he doesn't feel safe after multiple fire engines attended his block of flats

Crews have said it did not spread to any of the flats in the building, however smoke entered some on floors 10-12 when residents opened their doors.

West Midlands Police have the blaze is currently being treated as suspected arson.

Mr O'Neil described to ITV News Central what happened as he tried to escape, saying: "I was just crying out you know - get my daughter, get my missus."

"I wanna get out of here soon as I can I don’t care where is I don’t care if it’s a hostel. 

"I do not feel safe in there," he adds.

In total 14 residents, including six children were led to safety and they were treated for smoke inhalation on scene alongside a few residents who left the building themselves.

Another resident, Mary, recalls the moment she realised she needed to leave the building

Some affected residents went to friends and family whilst the incident was taking place, but returned to their respective flats once it was safe to do so.

Mary Danaher, who also lives in the same building in Newtown, echoed Mr O'Neil's comments saying she could not see the stairs.

She said: "I was more occupied by [my daughter] Phoebe. I was pretty much scared, I couldn’t see it into the stairwells because the smoke was that thick."

"We stayed in the kitchen with the kitchen window open. She [my daughter] was covering her ears because of the smoke alarm. She was scared."

Showing ITV News Central the aftermath of the fire, Mr O'Neil said: "There’s soot all over every single door, every single carpet tile that you can see."

David showed ITV News Central some of the damage the fire had caused to his property

Mr O'Neil said: "When the fire marshal let me back up here after we finally got Mary down we got what we could, we could only grab a couple pieces of clothing and some stuff for my daughter.

"And now there’s soot all over of my rugs - all over clean clothes that are freshly done are gonna stink of smoke.

"And my daughter is now scared to even touch the floor.

"It’s insane that this was intentional because I don’t know what what their end goal was in doing it."

West Midlands Fire Service have said they worked closely with colleagues from West Midlands Police and West Midlands Ambulance Service.

A spokesperson from the force said: "It's understood the fire started in a communal area or stairwell on the 10th floor."

They added the fire was "quickly extinguished" and did not spread further.

They also confirmed the cause of the fire is suspected arson.