COUNTY NEWS: Eight fire engines rush to tower block blaze

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Eight fire engines and an aerial ladder platform from across the county were called to tackle a blaze in a 24 storey building.

Crews from Preston Circus, Hove, Roedean, Lewes, Eastbourne, Newhaven and West Sussex rushed to Sussex Heights in Cannon Place, Brighton, at around 9am on Friday – with the first fire engine arriving within six minutes, according to East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS).

The fire was surrounded and extinguished by 9.38am, with the incident then being scaled back to two appliances, said ESFRS.

The fire was tackled by firefighters wearing breathing apparatus and using high rise procedures – which included taking water from the building’s internal wet riser system, a fixed system that provides instant access to a water supply from within the building.

Two men were treated at the scene by paramedics, after breathing in smoke, and the incident is now under investigation.

Brighton and Hove Borough Commander, Nigel Cusack, praised the actions of both the firefighting crews and colleagues from the police, ambulance and local authority for their swift and joined-up response.

He said: “We received excellent support from all partners involved and our full high rise procedures were immediately implemented, with a prompt and professional response which averted what could have otherwise developed into a more significant incident.

“Due to the fast intervention by firefighters this fire was contained in the flat where the fire started. Crews were assisted by the fact the fire doors prevented the spread of smoke to other parts of the block.

“Apart from the two adjacent flats, which were evacuated to assist firefighting operations, all other residents remained in their flats, as part of the stay put policy whilst firefighters continuously assessed conditions throughout the building.

“Firefighters are now carrying out Home Fire Safety Visits throughout the building to provide reassurance. Further information can be found on our website.

This incident, said a spokesperson for ESFRS, is a timely reminder to landlords to ensure that all tenants and residents are aware of the correct fire safety and evacuation procedures which should be adopted in the building.

The incident also highlights the importance of a working, domestic smoke alarm and, for further advice to high rise and community safety, visit: www.esfrs.org/your-safety/fire-safety-advice-for-flats-and-maisonettes/