A FLAT blaze meant residents had to evacuate a massive Brighouse mill complex.
Dozens of people were forced to leave Millroyd Island flats in the centre of Brighouse following the drama in the first-floor flat at around 7.30pm on Sunday.
That is despite a fire policy advising all residents to remain inside their flats in such cases.
Residents are now questioning the policy in light of Sunday’s blaze.
Fire crews from Brighouse, Elland and Cleckheaton attended the fire at the complex and spent around four hours at the scene.
Many people throughout the building reported smoke filling their flats after the fire broke out in an electrical fuse box on the mezzanine level of one of the apartments.
It set alight insulation surrounding a hot water tank.
Watch manager Andy Medlock, from Brighouse fire station, said: “We had many reports from residents of smoke seeping into flats.
“At an incident like this we usually check flats above, below and to both sides of the flat involved.
“But in this instance we thought the smoke was spreading more rapidly through ducting.”
Crews used four breathing apparatus and a hose reel to initially deal with the fire and then used specialist pressure ventilation fans to help get rid of smoke in the flats.
Resident Joanne Douglas said the mill fire policy advises all residents to stay in their apartments in case of a fire as the doors are meant to withhold flames and heat for two hours.
The theory is that in that time the fire service will have dealt with the incident.
She added: “The communal atrium area had some smoke in it but the fire was contained to just one apartment.
“The concern we have is about the reports that smoke was getting into other flats through the ducting.
“We’ve always been told the fire policy is if you hear an alarm, stay in your flat as the doors are meant to expand on heat.
“But if we stay inside because of a fire and smoke then comes in, we could be trapped.”
The mill is in two parts – the atrium area with flats around it and a corridor area with more flats.
They are only separated by a door, but the flats in the corridor are not linked to the same fire alarm system.
Joanne added: “When the alarm goes off in the atrium, which it has previously, residents of the apartments on the corridor cannot hear it so may not be aware of what’s happening.
“I wonder if they should be linked in light of this and I also think the fire policy and advice given to residents could, potentially, be dangerous.”