East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service were called upon after a roof of a Victorian house collapsed in Brighton last night (10thJune).
Three fire engines from Brighton and Lewes, along with the Technical Rescue Unit and Aerial Ladder Platform, were sent to Stanford Avenue, near Preston Park, just before 9.40pm.
Firefighters quickly rescued a woman from the upper floor by ladder, and then worked for several hours to search the whole of the building in case other people were trapped.
Several people had already self-evacuated and many of the residents had to be temporarily rehoused, with the assistance of the Fire Victim Support Unit who was on hand to help.
Incident Commander Richard Fowler said: “One woman was rescued by ladder from the rear of the property and was understandably extremely shaken and had to be seen by paramedics at the scene. She, and others who were able to escape from the building, were incredibly lucky to escape uninjured. This incident could have been so much worse and it is surprising that no one was trapped, or seriously injured, from the structural collapse."
“The Ambulance Service Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) were on standby in case anyone was trapped inside the property. This specialist team of ambulance service paramedics are trained to triage and treat patients within particularly hazardous, and/or potentially contaminated areas.”
Twenty firefighters, along with three officers, attended the incident and the Technical Rescue Unit carried out a room-by-room search of the nine bedsit property, using their specialist equipment and skills to ensure the safety of crews and anyone who may be trapped inside."
“Crews isolated the gas and electrics following the extensive damage to the roof and upper floor area. The Aerial Ladder Platform was also used to full effect to enable firefighters to stabilise the chimney on the roof of the property, preventing further damage to the building and ensuring the area was safe for contractors to work at the property today. Neighbours were evacuated at the time and were not allowed back in their home until the work on the chimney was complete. This incident showed a fantastic display of all the emergency services and authorities working together to bring this to a successful conclusion. We also had a building control surveyor at the scene, who was able to survey the property from the Areial Ladder Platform and advising crews on next steps. This was very much a team effort from everyone concerned and crews also went back in to the property to retrieve personal possessions for those who were left temporarily homeless.”
Police stayed at the scene overnight to ensure that no-one went back in to the dangerous property and the local authority were back on site this morning dealing with emergency repairs.
A council spokesperson said: “Our priority to ensure that the building is made safe as soon as possible and our building control officers are assisting the landlord and arranging for scaffolding to be erected so that the chimney and gables can be supported. We are also working with residents who are currently unable to access their homes and, if necessary, will assist them in finding accommodation while the building is made safe.”