A WARNING has been issued to residents after the latest fire scare at a South Tyneside tower block.
Six flats were evacuated when smoke from smouldering clothes triggered a fire alarm at Westmorland Court, Hebburn, early yesterday.
This is the latest in a number of fire alerts at the housing complex in recent years, some involving tenants smoking in bed.
In the latest incident, which happened at about 12.15am, clothes placed on top of a heater started to smoulder, causing smoke to drift from the airing cupboard.
The alarm sounded just after midnight in the flat, before smoke drifted up into a communal area, causing an alarm there to sound as well.
Residents from six flats on the sixth floor were evacuated while Hebburn firefighters searched the building to find where the smoke was coming from.
Fire crews were at the 10-storey block of flats for 45 minutes.
Coun Richard Porthouse, for the Hebburn North ward, which includes the town centre flats, said: “We have had a number of fire scares at Westmorland Court in recent years.
“Some of these were caused by people smoking in bed or cooking late at night, and we would warn people against this.
“Thankfully, this was a different kind of fire and the alarms worked perfectly in the latest incident.
“I’m just glad that no one was hurt, but we would warn people in the flats to take great care and avoid fire risks, particularly late at night.”
Last October, a man was taken to hospital after residents fled to safety following a blaze in the ground floor at Westmorland Court.
Some of the upper floors of the housing complex were smoke-logged and one resident was taken to hospital, suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.
Fire officers said it was believed the fire was started by someone smoking in bed.
The earlier fire came just days after the controversial removal of concierge staff at the Hebburn tower block.