beechmere fire 4

Three elderly residents have been reunited more than 12 months after their homes were destroyed in the huge Beechmere care complex blaze in Crewe.

The devastating fire ripped through the homes of Doris Chell, Janet Kelly and Margaret Jackson, among many others.

Now they have found themselves reunited once again, after all being rehomed at nearby Belong care village on Brookhouse Drive.

In August 2019, the fire at Beechmere care home on Rolls Avenue left around 150 people homeless and although all evacuated to safety, many were left without any personal possessions.

An investigation by Cheshire Fire and Rescue found that the fire was started accidentally.

At its height, 16 fire engines attended to tackle the blaze, which took four days to completely extinguish.

Reflecting more than a year on, 83-year-old Margaret said: “I remember seeing the smoke and thinking it was from a bonfire.

“Before I knew it, someone was at my apartment door telling me to leave the building.”

As part of the evacuation, neighbours had courageously entered the complex to assist the fire brigade.

Doris, Janet and Margaret, reunited at Belong Crewe (1)
Doris, Janet and Margaret, reunited at Belong Crewe

“Young men from across the road came and were carrying people out — fireman’s lifts, picking up wheelchairs, and even people in their beds.

“We are so grateful to the local community for all of their help.”

Team members from Belong Crewe also came out to help that night and helped provide emergency supplies and accommodation.

In the following weeks, former residents were rehoused with family and other care homes in the area, with varying success.

Doris, 89, speaking of her initial relocation, said: “The new accommodation was nice enough, but I felt isolated.

“It wasn’t nice being split up from everyone I knew and there weren’t any activities to participate in.”

One year on, the friends are in happier spirits again having been reunited at Belong Crewe..

Janet, 79, added: “It’s nice to feel at home with people you know.

“We all used to have our regular tea and natter sessions and now we’re back together, it feels like old times.”

Margaret said: “They’re a very good team at Belong.

“The staff were very welcoming and everyone makes the time to speak with you.

“We enjoy the activities they put on for us, although they are currently socially distanced activities. There’s a wonderful homely atmosphere.”

The trio of new Belong residents, who resided in Crewe throughout their lives, have also been joined by a familiar face, with former Beechmere receptionist, Dawn Palin, joining the team.

Dawn said: “I can’t believe it’s 12 months since the fire.

“It has had a massive impact on the local community and everyone has been so supportive.

“It’s great to be at Belong with Doris, Janet, and Margaret.”

Beechmere Aftermath - building regulations
Beechmere aftermath

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