Here's a joint statement which was issued by by Torbay Council, Shekinah and Westward Housing Group on Thursday 15 February 2018:

“We’re pleased to report that everyone is safe following the fire at Leornard Stocks hostel in Torquay last night and no-one has been injured. The calm and co-operative support that was demonstrated by everyone involved ensured this fire didn’t lead to a more serious incident.

“40 people were safely evacuated from the building, including 13 residents who had been given shelter as part of the rough sleeper project. Shekinah and Torbay Council set up emergency accommodation at Endeavour House in Torre, and Westward Housing, which runs the rough sleeper project on behalf of the council, also found accommodation for people who had sought overnight shelter at the hostel.

“A large portion of the building has been damaged by water a from the sprinkler system and this is currently being assessed, but without this sprinkler system in a purpose made building this fire would have been a lot more serious.

“We anticipate that a significant number of the residents will be able to return to the building today and Torbay Council’s Housing Options team is finding accommodation for the others. The council also has a statutory duty to provide accommodation at night if the temperature falls below zero degrees, so additional provision has now been set up with the Street Pastors and local churches to shelter people who would usually stay at the hostel.

“It’s really pleasing to see such a positive response from the local community who are rallying around to help. For example Park Lane has offered to cook and deliver food for the residents this evening. We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all the agencies that gave their support during and following this fire - in particular Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service, the Street Pastors for providing additional volunteers to assist all night and PATH for providing food. This was a successful multi partnership response involving a whole range of agencies who continue to work closely together.”

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