Building fire - Bolton

Monday 9 December

The GMFRS investigation into the cause and development of the fire is continuing. The initial forensic investigation at the site has been concluded and has ruled out deliberate ignition as a line of enquiry and this information has been shared with Greater Manchester Police. The investigation is ongoing and identification of the origin of the fire is just one element of the investigation.

No further information will be released at this time while the investigation continues


Sunday 24 November

One GMFRS Pump and an un-crewed Command Support Unit continue to remain in attendance at the incident at The Cube, Bolton. The role of the crews is to check for hot spots, maintain the cordons in place at the scene and reassuring the public by giving advice and signposting to support services.

The crews are also there to support the Fire Investigation teams with their investigation which is now underway, to determine the cause, origin and development of the fire.

In response to the fire at The Cube student accommodation, there is now emotional wellbeing and mental health support available for students through the University Student Mental Health Service, based at Bolton University.

The service can be accessed via the university counselling service on 01204 903566.  For the week of 25-11-19, there will be drop-in sessions from 12pm to 2pm daily.

Bolton Council have also set up a Frequently Asked Questions page on their website which you can access here.

Donate financial contributions to the official fund here:


Tuesday, November 19 update

Representatives from the local authority, University of Bolton, emergency services, health, The Cube team, other accommodation providers, and voluntary organisations convened yesterday (November 18) to put in place plans to help the affected Bolton community.

The partnership is working successfully together to ensure all residents are supported, following the distressing incident, and put plans in place to help the town recover.

Key issues are being co-ordinated by the group including the health and welfare for all residents displaced from The Cube (owned by a private freeholder) and neighbouring accommodation.

Students displaced from The Cube have been provided with temporary alternative accommodation by the University of Bolton in partnership with Urban Student Life.

They are currently unable to return to The Cube due to an ongoing Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service investigation.

There will be a phased reopening of adjacent buildings when they have been made safe and habitable again. The Anvil has already reopened to tenants.

Anyone staying at accommodation next to the Cube, who were evacuated to a local hotel following the fire and still in need of support should contact 01204 333333.

Residents are also reassured that whilst some of the accommodation blocks do not allow pets, agencies have stressed that no action will be taken on those who kept a pet.

The council is the lead authority for the recovery phase. The recovery group will continue to provide updates as and when they have them - visit the Bolton Council news page for Frequently Asked Questions and updates.

Donate financial contributions to the official fund here:

The University of Bolton is also asking for donations of holdalls, large rucksacks, small and medium suitcases to be dropped off at the Chancellors Mall on University Way. No other donations are required.

4.30pm update (Sunday, November 17)

GMFRS inspected the building in 2017 following the fire at Grenfell Tower. It was established that the building did not have ACM cladding. There are two buildings in The Cube, Phase 1 is classified as a high rise building and Phase 2 (the building involved in the fire) is recorded as being under 18 metres and therefore not classified as a high rise building.

As The Cube is student accommodation, it is fitted with a fire alarm system and operates a simultaneous evacuation strategy.

GMFRS subsequently requested the fire risk assessment be reviewed and the materials used in the external wall system identified and assessed. This assessment was shared with GMFRS and in 2018, subsequent work was undertaken to both buildings by the building owners.

Following the fire our investigation will consider the materials used within the external wall construction and what if any role these materials played in the development and spread of fire. This investigation will be complex and take some time. No further information about the external wall system will be released at this stage.

GMFRS will continue to work with the building owners to determine when it will be safe for parts of the building to be reoccupied and in the interim when it will be possible for personal belongings to be collected.

3pm update (Sunday, November 17)

Crews are still at the scene of the incident and operations are ongoing. 

Due to health and safety, there is no access to a number of buildings near the The Cube on Bradshawgate. These are The Arches, The Anvil, The Picture House and Sun Alliance Building. If you are a resident at one of these properties, you will not be able to access you home until further notice. Residents are being asked to avoid the area.

If you live in The Anvil or Sun Alliance Building and need emergency accommodation, please call Bolton Council on 01204 338947 or 01204 338946. These lines will be open until 9pm. Find out more information on their website here. The emergency out of hours number is 01204 336900.

If you live in The Arches or The Picture House, please contact Irwell Valley Homes on 07767 392544 or 07884 375040. Find out more information on the Irwell Valley Homes website.

10am update (Sunday, November 17)

Three fire engines and two aerial appliances remain at the scene of the fire at The Cube on Bradshawgate in Bolton. Firefighters are using thermal imaging cameras to scan the building for any remaining hotspots and are reviewing the building to identify hazards.

GMFRS are expected to remain at the scene for the next few days. A cordon remains in place to ensure the safety of the public. Bradshawgate has reopened to traffic, with one lane closed so there may be delays.

An investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing.

If any students need any information about the support available, including mental health support, please call the University of Bolton on 01204 903733.

A number of surrounding properties and businesses have also been evacuated. Colleagues at Bolton Council are working to ensure that anyone affected is offered alternative accommodation.

6pm update

A DONATION page has been set up for students affected by the flat fire in Bolton.

The official Just Giving page is being managed by Forever Manchester as part of the Greater Manchester Disaster Relief Fund:

Firefighters are expected to remain at the scene of the fire at The Cube building on Bradshawgate for the next few days. 

As of Saturday evening (November 16), there were four fire appliances and two aerial platforms on the scene and this is expected to reduce overnight. 

Everyone that was registered to the building was accounted for on Saturday afternoon.

It is not yet known when the students will be able to get back into their homes but work is ongoing to assess the safety of the building and access will be reviewed on Monday (November 18.)

In the meantime, the University has short, medium and long-term plans in place to support and accommodate students. Catering provisions and accommodation is in place for all evacuated students. If students need any information about the support available please call 01204 903733.

A GMFRS spokesperson said: “We’re pleased to say that contact has been made with the 220 residents that were registered to the building.

“Once again I want to thank all our partners for their continued support and in particular the firefighters who responded swiftly and immediately evacuated the building and rescued two people.

“Understandably people in high-rise buildings will be worried about the safety so we have advice on our website for Greater Manchester residents living in high-rise buildings. Our advice is to find out the evacuation strategy for their building, which should be clearly displayed in the building – if it isn’t then you should contact your landlord or managing agent.”

An investigation will be carried out to establish the cause of the fire and the affect cladding had on the fire spread.

5.30am update

Residents of The Cube in Bolton are being asked to go to Orlando Village student accommodation and contact their loved ones to let them know they are safe.

The call comes as firefighters remain at the scene of a major fire at the student apartment block on Bradshawgate close to the town centre.

At 8.30pm on Friday 15 November, crews were called to a fire at the six-storey building, which was affecting every floor.

Residents had already started to evacuate the building as firefighters arrived. In total two people were treated by paramedics at the scene, including one person who was rescued by crews using an aerial platform.

At its height, around 200 firefighters were tackling the blaze, with 40 fire engines, three aerial platforms and other specialist appliances in use.

Six fire engines currently remain at the scene as firefighters tackle the last few pockets of fire.

Road closures remain in place and people are urged to stay away from the area.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Tony Hunter, said: “Our crews have done a fantastic job bringing this fire under control, in what have been very challenging circumstances. I want to praise their swift action, which has prevented the fire from spreading to adjacent buildings.

“I’m pleased the say that we are now scaling back our response, and we will remain at the scene for the next few hours as we tackle the remaining pockets of fire.

“Our priority now, is ensuring that all residents of The Cube register at Orlando Village on Thynne Street, Bolton so we know they are safe and well.”

The University of Bolton is supporting students who have been evacuated. They are urged to go to Orlando Village student accommodation, Thynne Street, BL3 6BA.

Professor George E Holmes DL, President and Vice Chancellor of the University of Bolton, said: “Supporting the welfare of our students is our number one priority and we have moved swiftly to assist in any way we can.

“University colleagues have worked through the night to make sure support is in place for students over the weekend.

“We have assisted in ensuring students have been given temporary alternative accommodation at the Orlando student halls and in some Bolton hotels.

“We have also arranged to provide necessities such as toiletries for all students affected and are opening the University over the weekend so students can be supported. We will also provide food for them.

“I would like to stress that The Cube is not owned by the University of Bolton. It is owned and managed by a private landlord and the students were not on our premises when during this incident.”

3am update

Firefighters at the incident at The Cube, on Bradshawgate, Bolton have started scaling back resources. Ten appliances will remain at the scene, including two aerial appliances and a command support unit as crews continue to tackle the remaining pockets of fire.

Speaking from the Command Support Unit on the ground, Area Manager Jim Hutton said: "We have been fighting this fire for more than six hours now and we are making good progress, and that's thanks to the quick and professional actions of our crews.

“We are still asking residents and visitors to register at Orlando Village Student Accommodation and call their loved ones to let them know they are safe.

“I’d like to thank partners at Greater Manchester Police, North West Ambulance Service, Bolton Council and the University of Bolton who have assisted us at this incident.”

Crews will remain at the incident throughout the night.

1am update

Residents of The Cube, on Bradshawgate, Bolton, are being asked to register at Orlando Village Student Accommodation and to contact family members to let them know they are safe.

Around 40 fire engines and specialist appliances are at the scene and crews are working hard to extinguish pockets of fire on the 5th and 6th floor of the building, using aerial appliances.

Jim Hutton, Area Manager, said: "I want to praise our hardworking firefighters who have worked exceptionally hard during difficult conditions and prevented the fire from spreading to an adjacent building.

“We have divided the fire itself into four sectors of firefighting, allowing us to target our efforts on particular hotspots. While the building does remain on fire, we are doing all we can to stay on top of this situation and soon extinguish the flames.

"I urge anyone who lives at The Cube, or visiting, to go to Orlando Village Student Accommodation and register."

There are road closures in place and there is still a large amount of smoke in the local area.

10.50pm Update

At 20.29 on November 15, 2019, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service were called to a fire at a 6-storey building on Bradshawgate, Bolton. 

There are 25 fire engines and two aerial appliances currently at the scene and firefighters are tackling the blaze using multiple jets. 

Local residents are being asked to keep their windows and doors shut and avoid the area where possible.

15/11/2019 22:51 PM