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



Friday, 23 November 2007, 22:59 GMT
Residents re-housed after blaze

More than 20 people are to be temporarily re-housed after a fire in a mid-terrace house in Coventry.

Five people in a student house, which caught fire in Coundon Road, Coundon, had to be rescued. They were taken to hospital and later released.

Another 61 people were treated at the scene after the fire in the early hours of Friday sent smoke into other homes.

West Midlands Fire Service said the fire was being "treated as suspicious" while investigations continued.

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

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

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

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

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."

The spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said fire crews made sure the home for the elderly was safe.

Paramedics were then able to check patients confined to beds to make sure they were not suffering from smoke inhalation.