Firefighters break down door of flat after blaze

James Taylor at his desk in his office at 116 High Street, Old Portsmouth.

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PEOPLE were evacuated from a block of flats in Southsea when a kitchen went up in smoke.

Neighbours dialled 999 after hearing a smoke alarm sounding at about 1.55pm yesterday at Keelan Court, Richmond Road, Southsea.

Two fire engines from Southsea fire station were there within minutes.

Firefighters barged down the door of the flat as the owners had gone out, leaving food cooking on the hob.

Crew manager Jamie Wren said: ‘When we got there all the people were outside.

‘There was a smoke alarm sounding.

‘The residents of the flat were nowhere to be seen. We made forced entry into the flat.

‘There was a pan with food in it and it had been left on the hob.

‘We opened all the windows to clear the air.’

Firefighters said the blaze could have spread were it not for the quick actions of neighbours.

He said: ‘There is always the danger if the smoke alarm had not gone off.’