Bar staff help student to source emergency medication following Bolton fire

A staff member at a local bar helped a student evacuated during the blaze in Bolton to source emergency medication after she left hers in her room.

Ellie Cornish forgot to pick up her medication, which prevents seizures caused by PTSD, when she dashed out of her building adjacent to The Cube – but police told her she could not return to collect it.

Cocktails and Co gave the 19-year-old shelter and a hot chocolate, and a staff member helped her organise an emergency prescription for the medicine.

"Seeing my panicked and upset state, she offered to call 111 for me to get an emergency prescription," Ms Cornish told the PA news agency.

"Emotionally, I was experiencing panic attacks as I was initially alone on the street, surrounded by fire engines and police.

"I was worried about my medication as I was in a heightened state of stress and that can cause seizures for me."

Bolton fire

Ms Cornish, from Bedfordshire, was able to collect the prescription late on Friday and is now staying with a friend. She said she has "no idea" when she will be allowed back to her flat.

Another student criticised fire safety in the building and said while alarms were set off in hallways, those in students' rooms were not – making the warnings difficult to hear.

Melissa McGarrigle told PA: "The fire alarms in the corridor went off but they aren't particularly loud, especially if you're asleep.

"It just doesn't feel real, everyone thought it was just the fire alarms acting up as usual until we heard people screaming."

Labour's Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has said The Cube does not have the same cladding as Grenfell Tower did, but does have a form which "causes concern and raises issues".

Bolton fire

Ms McGarrigle said students were not warned of any potential cladding fire hazards when they moved into the flats.

"We were warned about nothing, thought The Cube was safe," she said.

One eyewitness described the fire as "crawl[ing] up the cladding like it was nothing".

Ace Love, 35, said: "The fire kept getting more intense, climbing up and to the right because the wind was blowing so hard.

"We could see it bubbling from the outside and then being engulfed from the outside.

"A lot of students got out very fast, someone was very distressed, the rest were on phones calling for help.

"The fire got worse and worse, to the point where you could see through the beams, it was just bare frame."

Bolton fire
(Peter Byrne/PA)

Ryan Pardon, 24, was evacuated from a block next to The Cube due to smoke and compared the blaze to the Grenfell Tower fire.

"It was thick black smoke coming into our apartment... just couldn't see or breathe," Mr Pardon told PA.

"It sounds daft but you start thinking how you're going to get out, you start thinking you are in Grenfell Tower."

Asked about the Grenfell Tower comparison, Mr Pardon said: "It's not the same cladding but it's the same situation."

The Bolton local said he stayed at his brother's last night and has been told he cannot return to his home until Tuesday.

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