Candle left on top of television sparks flats fire

A LIT candle left on a television led to around 20 people being evacuated after a fire ripped through a St Leonards flat on Monday night (August 5).

Firefighters from Bohemia Road Fire Station spent three hours tackling the blaze at Pembroke Court in Woodland Vale Road after receiving a report just after 10pm.

One resident, who wished not to be named, said: “A neighbour noticed the fire and we ran upstairs to alert other residents.

“Police were in the area on an unrelated matter and helped us get everyone out safely.”

Hastings Borough Council accommodated six residents from the block of flats following the fire. Volunteer staff opened the town hall for the night when alternative accommodation could not be found.

The council then searched for alternative homes for affected people.

Andy Ling, watch commander at Bohemia Road Fire Station, said: “When we arrived it was a fully developed fire on the second-floor flat. Around 20 people were evacuated and we had eight fire appliances at the scene plus the aerial ladder platform. There was one person unaccounted for and residents thought the lady in the affected flat was inside.

“We did a thorough search and she was later located at an address in Little Common.”

He added the blaze spread from the affected flat to the roof space and caused damage to several adjacent properties.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Police assisted residents of a block of flats in St Leonards to safety after a fire broke out in one of the flats.

“Patrolling officers spotted the fire at Pembroke Court, Woodland Vale Road, St Leonards, at 10.10pm, and helped all residents to leave. Nobody was injured.

“The fire was extinguished shortly after midnight and the residents were able to return to all except the affected flat, which had not been occupied at the time the fire broke out.”

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) is warning against the danger of using candles in the home.

Spokeswoman Allison Collins said: “The fire is believed to have been started accidentally after a candle was placed on a television.

“Conditions were extremely tough for crews and eight fire engines were needed at the scene of the three-storey building.”

ESFRS is calling for everyone to follow simple rules if they want to have candles in their home.

A candle should not be left unattended. They should be put out before leaving a room and going to bed and a snuffer or a spoon used to put them out, as blowing them can send sparks and hot wax flying.