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Fire rips through block of flats in Bournemouth as flames are seen leaping from the collapsing roof

A huge fire ripped through a block of flats in Bournemouth on Saturday, with footage from the scene showing flames leaping from the roof before collapsing inwards.

Firefighters are currently battling the blaze, which broke out in a third floor flat on Saturday afternoon, forcing residents to evacuate.

At 11:10pm on Saturday night, fire crews said they were still at the scene fighting the blaze, and that a reduced crew would remain at the building overnight and into Sunday.

Fire crews will also begin their investigation into what caused the fire. 

Earlier in the day, black smoke could be seen rising from the building on Holdenhurst Road in the seaside town. The road is expected to be closed off for some time.

The fire has now been raging for more than eight hours, with witnesses saying that it spread further across the roof of the building.

Rescue services, which have been stretched today as thousands of people descended on the south coast, have confirmed that no one was hurt in the fire.

Fire crews from Westbourne, Ferndown, Wimborne, Verwood, Poole, Wareham, Redhill, Ringwood, New Milton and Lymington have been at the scene.

A spokesperson for the fire service said that they had called for 12 pumps to be at the scene to allow for a supply of breathing apparatus, to ensure crews could rotate in the hot conditions. 

‘Holdenhurst Road in Bournemouth is full of fire appliances as crews deal with a flat fire,’ Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service posted on Twitter.

‘Everyone’s safe but there are road closures in place, so avoid going in and out of Bournemouth by the Asda roundabout!’ 

The call came into the emergency services at around 4pm, after which police urged people to avoid the area until it is reopened. 

Jean-Luc Carden, who lives near the scene of the incident, told the Bournemouth Echo: ‘I went outside for a cigarette about 30 minutes ago and saw all the smoke billowing from the flats on top of the building.

‘Half of the roof has now caved in and there are still flames at the back of the building.’

He added: ‘I have been at the top of my building for about 30 minutes now and it looks like it got worse in that time worse. The road is completely shut from the job centre to the actual building (where the fire is).’ 

Another witness on Twitter said that at least half of the roof had fallen in, and that they could see inside the building their position. 

Dorset Police wrote in a statement: ‘Officers are at the scene to assist the fire service with road closures and to help evacuate nearby properties.

‘There are no reports of any injuries or people trapped.’ 

The fire comes as Bournemouth beach was put on red alert as tourists flocked to the coast during the current heatwave being experienced across much of the UK.

Red alert means that authorities believe maintaining social distancing – to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading – is impossible, and that the area is unsafe for people.

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