The Colston Street Disaster: a year on

A fiery flashback


Next month will mark the one year anniversary of the day that Colston Street, a fresher halls in the centre of town, was ravaged by fire.

Students who had just settled in, three weeks into term, suddenly came back from lectures to find all their belongings had turned to ash. Residents were evacuated and the hall was left derelict for the rest of the year.

The fire, which spread from floor 11, was suspected to have been started by a forgetful fresher’s pan full of cooking oil.

Now one year on, as repairs begin on the once mighty student hall, we caught up with residents who were living in Colston Street at the time of the disaster.

Miri Teixeira 
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Miri with a fiery socialist

How badly were you affected by the fire at Colston Street?
In a practical sense at least, very badly. I took all my stuff with me to uni, and then lost everything apart from my phone and the clothes I was wearing.

Where were you relocated?
I was relocated to The Colston, which was a studio flat. It was weird to go from a communal flat of great people to suddenly being alone in a studio flat all year.

How does the incident still affect you?
It still affects me financially. This year is going to be a struggle, and I’ve had to cut back on things and sacrifice things I need. I don’t feel like this is a particularly great uni experience, as i’m having to work every spare hour I have.

Have you had any positives come from your experience?
I was surprised how kind people could be, even those I hadn’t met. A group of people from my mum’s church donated all manner of things to me, bags of bedding and clothes and kitchen stuff, even when many of them had never met me. That was definitely what pulled me through it relatively optimistically.

Charlotte Tom

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How badly were you affected?
I was affected badly by the fire as most of my stuff was damaged.

Where were you relocated to?
I was relocated to 8-10 Colston Avenue in a studio flat.

How does the incident still affect you?
I still sometimes wonder how much of my life would have been different if it hadn’t happened as I made some really good friends in other buildings after the fire.

Have you had any positives come from your experience?
I’ve made loads of life long friends.

Conor O’Hare
Conor on the day of the fire VS Now

Conor on the day of the fire VS Now

How badly were you affected?
I didn’t get any of my clothes back for like two months, which made October through December pretty rough, only owning two sets of dungarees. I just kinda became the guy who wore dungarees, so no worries there really, just sometimes I had to wear dirty clothes, not too exciting.

Where were you relocated to?
It meant I changed accommodation quite a bit. We were in Stoke Bishop for a bit and then shared a studio in the centre with my mate and after that lived in Fusion Tower which was unreal, so I don’t think I had the typical uni experience first year but I met loads of really cool people that I probably wouldn’t have met any other way.

How does the incident still affect you?
I still think about how I didn’t have the typical uni experience first year.

Have you had any positives from the experience?
I met loads of really cool people that I probably wouldn’t have met any other way.