LANCASHIRE’S top fire chief has spoken out about his safety concerns following a devastating blaze in student flats – saying ‘change is urgently needed.’

More than 200 students were evacuated from The Cube in Bolton on Friday night after a fire broke out inside the student accommodation.

Witnesses from the scene reported seeing what appeared to be a small fire rip across and upwards within minutes, ‘crawling up the cladding like it was nothing.’

At its height, around 200 firefighters were tackling the blaze, with 40 fire engines, three aerial platforms and other specialist appliances being used.

By yesterday afternoon all students had been accounted for and no serious injuries were reported.

But the speed of which the fire spread has brought into question the safety of the cladding used on the outside of the building, with the Mayor of greater Manchester Andy Burnham admitting that cladding is a ‘great issue than we have so far faced up to.’

Lancashire’s Chief Fire Officer, has now spoken out on Twitter about the fire, saying: “Over the course of my 25 years as a firefighter I saw many devastating building fires in other parts of the world safe in the knowledge that UK regulations wouldn’t see the uncontrolled fire spread or failure of compartmentation.

“Change urgently required.”

The operators of The Cube, which did not have the same type of cladding that combusted in the Grenfell Tower fire of 2017, have now said they are ‘committed’ to help with the inquiry into Friday night’s fire.

Responding to the fire, the Fire Brigades Union has called for a complete overhaul of UK fire safety, with general secretary Matt Wrack saying: “It’s deeply troubling to see fire spread rapidly up a building’s exterior again - a shocking indictment of the government’s shameful inaction after Grenfell. This is not how any building should react to a fire in the 21st century, let alone a building in which people live.

“We need to end the deregulation agenda and the disastrous cuts to our fire and rescue service. It’s time for a complete overhaul of UK fire safety before it’s too late.”