FIREFIGHTERS from across the county fought a blaze at a penthouse flat last night and stopped it from spreading.
(Video by Sam Garrett)
The emergency services were alerted just before 10pm after the fire broke out in the fifth storey of a building in South Parade, opposite the Pyramids Centre in Southsea.
Firefighters have said the fire started from the chimney in the bedroom.
A woman, who is understood to live alone in the flat, got herself out quickly and was not injured.
Other residents in the block were initially told to stay inside their properties.
However a few minutes later they were evacuated.
Simran-Jeet Singh, 25, was relaxing at home in the flat below when there was a knock on his door.
The telecoms worker said: ‘It was strange because we didn’t even smell any smoke.
‘We didn’t know anything until a firefighter knocked on the door and told us to stay inside. We looked outside and saw all the blue lights.
‘Then they knocked and told us we needed to get out.’
Student Jack Lane, 22, said: ‘I could smell smoke as I was running along the seafront but I didn’t think anything of it.
‘Then as I turned the corner I could see flames coming from round the chimney.
‘A girl came out on to the balcony just along and I don’t think she’d realised what had been going on.
‘She shouted “oh my God” and ran back inside.’
Fire crews from as far away as Southampton were called to help tackle the blaze because, under strict regulations, there must be backup for fires in multiple occupancy buildings that are over a certain height and age.
Incident commander Charlie Harris explained that the fire was actually small and put out quickly.
However the aerial ladder was used to damp down the chimney for ease of access.
Firefighter Harris said the occupant was well and did not require medical attention.
They were not allowed back in the flat overnight but none of the other properties were affected.
Fire crews have issued a warning for people to have their chimneys cleaned once a year.