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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Mystery over Trapped Youths in Unused Pub Fire

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service have raised concerns about an incident at the unoccupied Draycott Arms Public House on Uttoxeter Road in Draycott at 8.10pm last night.

"We had eight firefighters risking their lives searching for these people- at one stage we thought we were looking for bodies when they stopped responding to questions."

Station Manager, Ian Broadhead

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service have raised concerns about an incident at the unoccupied Draycott Arms Public House on Uttoxeter Road in Draycott at 8.10pm last night.

Crews from Longton, Cheadle and Hanley including the aerial ladder platform from Longton were called to reports of a fire on the ground floor of the unused pub.

Crews entered the building to extinguish the deliberately started fire and as they battled the flames heard distressed calls for help from upstairs.

A further eight firefighters wearing breathing apparatus were immediately sent into the building to search for the trapped people. Station Manager, Ian Broadhead said: "Firefighters reported hearing at least two young-sounding voices pleading for help and saying they were trapped in the bedroom.

"The firefighters were talking to the people, asking where they were and initially the people were responding to questions. After a short while, no responses were heard so we feared the worst."

Firefighters continued in their search for the trapped people for a further 15 minutes before they came across an open bathroom window. Ian Broadhead said: "It would appear that whoever was trapped escaped via the bathroom window however we searched outside the property as well and there were no signs of them.

"We can appreciate they must have been very scared as there was a fire downstairs and obviously they shouldn’t have been trespassing in the building in the first place, but to call for help and then escape themselves but not come to tell us they’re out and are safe was an irresponsible thing to do.

"We had eight firefighters risking their lives searching for these people- at one stage we thought we were looking for bodies when they stopped responding to questions. It would have been a much better idea for them to come and tell a member of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s personnel who were outside that they were safe so we could pull our crews out of a dangerous situation as well."

The fire was put out by firefighters wearing breathing apparatus using three hose reel jets and one main jet. Crews left the scene at 10.35pm and Staffordshire Police are now investigating the blaze further.