Fire crews tackled a fire at The Lighthouse in Manchester’s Northern Quarter today.
Residents were woken up at around 7.30am as smoke wafted through the hallways of Northern Quarter’s tallest residential building on Joiner Street (off Church Street).
There was a quick evacuation as fire crews began to battle the fire, which was situated on the south side of the building, from an aerial platform.
Smoke plumed up the side of the building as residents were safely led out by police officers and shepherded into the Arndale over the road, where officers made use of Subway’s tables and chairs, giving residents somewhere to sit and catch their breath.
Meanwhile, Greater Manchester Police tweeted: “We are currently dealing with an incident on Church Street, Northern Quarter.
“There are road closures in place on High Street, Church Street and surrounding side streets.
“Metrolink services are also affected.”
Residents in the building recall being woken up by “pots and pans”, “people banging on our door”, and even “screaming from the street below”.
By 9.30am the blaze had been tackled by fire fighters and most residents were back in their apartments while a select few who can’t return are being put up at the Aparthotel next to the residential block.
While complete speculation at this point, comments on social media seem to allege that the fire was started after a lit cigarette was flicked onto a balcony from an apartment above.
It’s worth noting that the lifts in The Lighthouse building are covered in signage warning residents not to flick cigarettes off their balconies.
Lighthouse resident Beth Harrington told The Manc that the fire started on her floor, stating: “When we were given the all clear to go back in, we were told that the fire was on our floor.
“When we came up the stairs there were fire hoses all over the place, all leading into the apartment opposite us.”
Beth was woken by people banging on her door at around 7.30am. She said: “I looked out the window and saw smoke, so went to look out the front door and check the hallway.
“As soon as I opened the door there was a waft of smoke and I could hear people shouting and running down the fire escape stairs.
“I woke my partner and housemate up and we fled the building and stood outside opposite the Tesco as the street filled with smoke.”
According to some residents, the building’s fire alarm was delayed due to the fire being situated on the outside of the building – so residents had to use pots and pans as a makeshift alarm to alert other residents.
There will be an investigation into what started the fire, as fire crews and police officers wrap up at the scene.
More to follow.