Ableworld staff scrambled into action to help elderly residents, including customers, who were forced to flee their homes when a fire erupted in a retirement complex in Crewe last week.
About 150 residents were evacuated without time to collect belongings when a fire broke out in Beechmere residential apartments and spread rapidly.
The incident commander from Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service quickly over-ruled a ‘stay put’ policy after arriving at the scene along with 70 firefighters and oversaw the swift evacuation of residents, many of whom have been left homeless.
Crewe is Ableworld heartland and the company has its HQ in Nantwich around four miles away. It operates a number of stores in the area and decided to utilise its infrastructure after hearing about the blaze.
It was one of a number of companies in the area to put a message out on social media saying that its staff will be on-hand to help where they can.
The mobility business distributed wheelchairs, commodes, continence items and walking frames to a local collection centre, which also received items and offers of support from Tesco and local residents.
Ableworld also used several of its local stores as collection points to accept donations from residents who are unable to reach a leisure centre acting as the main collection point.
It also offered some of its vans to distribute donations over the weekend to people in need.
A spokesperson for Ableworld said that the company is “devastated” about the incident.
“We have a lot of customers who lived there and who have lost everything and our thoughts are with them all at this very difficult time,” she said.
“The least we could do was to offer help on Thursday evening by donating some wheelchairs, walking frames and commodes, as we appreciate many of them were frail or living with mobility issues and being evacuated with nothing was very distressing.
“The local community has been fantastic and immediately wanted to help where possible so donation points were arranged, of which our Crewe and Nantwich stores became.
“We offered some vans over the weekend to help with collating and distributing donations to those who need them.
“We are continuing to work with the local authorities to ensure prescription items, and urgent aids are sourced and delivered as quickly as we can.”
Image credit: Cheshire Police / The Lifestyle Centre in Crewe acted as the main collection point for donated items