Community comes together after sheltered accommodation fire
- Credit: Harpenden Fire
After a large-scale fire on Tuesday morning left Hatfield residents of a sheltered accommodation facility seeking refuge, the community has provided much-needed supplies to the vulnerable inhabitants.
Age UK Hertfordshire, which has been helping with the donations after 22 residents were evacuated from Ashley Court, has been overwhelmed by the public's support.
Mark Hanna, director of operations at Age UK Hertfordshire, said "The response from the local community was incredible.
"I think for something like this to happen after a year like this one, so close to Christmas - it has really moved people and motivated them to help.
"It's been a hard year for everyone but especially for older people, many of whom have been shielded or on lockdown for most of the year and unable to see their loved ones."
A total of 12 fire engines attended the scene and shelter was provided by the fire service nearby Wellfield Road.
Then on the same day, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council stepped in to provide accommodation to the 22 residents and Hertfordshire County Council put on transport to take them to a temporary location.
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Cllr Tony Kingsbury, leader of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council, said at the time: "We have been working closely with emergency services and Sanctuary Housing since reports in the early hours of this morning of the fire.
“We rapidly set up an emergency reception centre nearby so those who have been evacuated were able to stay warm, get teas and coffees, and some breakfast.
“Our thoughts are with everyone affected and will continue to do everything we can to assist.”
A spokesperson for the building's managers Sanctuary said: “We are offering the emergency services any assistance they need as they deal with this fire and will work closely with the fire service when they begin to investigate its cause.
“Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this devastating incident and we are working closely with Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council to support the residents, including arranging emergency accommodation for any who cannot immediately return to their homes.”
Herts Fire added in a statement: “The exact cause of the fire is yet to be determined, and investigations are ongoing, although it is believed to be accidental.”
A Just Giving page has also been set up by the community to further support Age UK Hertfordshire with donations.