Barton Hill fire: Residents 'frightened' to live in their home after tower block blaze

  • Watch flames take hold at Eccleston House

People living in a block of flats in Bristol have said they are frightened to return to their homes after a fire broke out in the tower block.

Emergency services were called to Eccleston House on Aiken Street, in Barton Hill, at 6.08am today (Thursday 20 October).

Fire crews began evacuating the building after arriving at the scene, where the fire had begun to spread outside from the first floor.

Six people were injured by the blaze with three people taken to hospital.

It comes less than a month after a fatal tower block fire in nearby Easton sparked a campaign for new fire safety measures from residents.

One man died in a fall from the 16th floor of Twinnell House as he tried to escape flames in September.

Bristol's Mayor Marvin Rees has now moved to reassure people living in tower blocks in the city, saying Bristol City Council will be doing "all it can" to support them.

  • Residents speak to ITV News West Country

Reagan Foster, who lives in Eccleston House, told ITV News West Country she was woken up by shouting this morning.

"I heard people shouting 'fire, fire'," she said. "I had to get out very quickly and help get my neighbour out."

She added: "It was scary. I was panicking, I was freaking out.

"I was scared, I was nervous, I was shaking."

She said she no longer wants to live in a tower block.

"I don't want to live in one anymore," she said. "I don't want to live here.

"I've only lived here a few months, I haven't been here very long. So I'm a bit scared now - I don't want to live in the block anymore."

Amal Ali, who is a Frome Vale councillor, lives in a similar building in Barton Hill.

She said: "I live on the 13th floor of a building just around the corner.

"It frightens me because I have an autistic child and I also have two small twins who are nine months old.

"It frightens me to death."

Sarah Watkins has lived in the block for three years but wants to move out.

She said: "I was sound asleep in my bed and I heard a 'bang, bang, bang' at my door. I thought my flat was being broken into until I heard my next-door neighbour banging on my door saying 'there's a fire, there's a fire, there's smoke'."

She said she was "shaking" when she got out of the building. When asked if she felt safe living in the block, she replied "no, definitely not".

In a statement, Marvin Rees said many people will feel affected by recent events, including the fire at nearby Twinnell House.

Fire crews attended to the blaze around 6am this morning (20 October)

He added: "I would encourage residents to seek support from the council’s housing and welfare teams who will continue checking in on everyone in the coming hours and days.

"It is completely understandable that high-rise residents across the city may feel upset and worried.

"We will be doing all we can to support them and will also be reminding all high-rise tenants in our city of the fire safety advice specific to their blocks.

"I would also like to personally thank the local mosque and church who have helped us out generously during and after the evacuation."

The fire was put out in around two hours, but firefighters remain at the scene to support residents.

It is not yet clear how many properties have been damaged.

Avon Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager Dave Hodges said: "We remain in attendance to make the scene safe and are working with our partner agencies to support the local community during this time."