Clothes hung near stove started blaze

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A FIRE which caused the evacuation of a centre for vulnerable adults started when clothes hanging over a gas fire caught alight.

Firefighters were called to Portsmouth Foyer, in Edinburgh Road, on Monday evening and tackled a small blaze which began in a bedroom on the fifth floor of the seven-storey building.

The fire started when a resident tried to use a small two-ring cooker to cook some eggs.

After leaving it unattended some clothes hanging nearby caught fire, causing damage to two bedrooms but no injuries.

All 108 residents of the Foyer and staff were evacuated while firefighters and police officers checked the site. Ursula Tavender, PR manager for First Wessex housing association, said they were working to repair the damage caused.

She said: 'Fire safety for all our residents, not just those at the Foyer and in our schemes but all First Wessex tenants, is a top priority for us.

'We have a duty as a landlord to have a robust fire safety risk assessment procedure in place.

'Lessons can always be learned from incidents like this one.

'Our Health and Safety team is now conducting a full investigation so that we can make sure we are doing everything in our power to preserve the safety of residents in the future.'