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This article was reproduced with the kind permission
of the British Broadcasting Corporation



Friday, 23 November 2007, 12:59 GMT
Crews treat 66 at city fire scene

Five people have been rescued and taken to hospital and another 61 treated at the scene, after fire broke out in mid-terrace house in Coventry.

Those rescued were in the student house which caught fire and sent smoke into other homes, in Coundon Road, Coundon.

Thirty five people were taken to a nearby school, where some were treated by ambulance staff for the effects of breathing in smoke.

One end of the row was a home for 24 elderly and bed-bound patients.

There were people at the windows screaming to get out
Douglas Pittendrick

A West Midlands fire spokesman said the five taken to hospital did not appear to be seriously injured, but were shocked and suffering the effects of smoke inhalation.

One had burns to his hands.

Douglas Pittendrick, one of the street's residents, said: "There was thick, black smoke pouring out of the doors and windows.

"Really thick black smoke like rubber tyres were burning.

"There were people at the windows screaming to get out - there was a woman at the upper floor and a gentleman at the first floor. It was really scary."

Home made safe

The spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said fire crews made sure the home for the elderly was safe, so paramedics could check patients confined to beds to make sure they were not suffering from smoke inhalation.

"A further 35 people from the row of houses were taken to nearby Bablake School and ambulance staff worked there to assess all of them and treat them for smoke inhalation," he added.

Crews were alerted to the fire shortly before 0200 GMT when they received at least ten calls.

The fire is now out and the cause being investigated.