UPDATE: Families in shock after fire tears through Old Portsmouth student home

A severe fire took hold at a student home in Old Portsmouth PPP-170217-112422001
A severe fire took hold at a student home in Old Portsmouth PPP-170217-112422001
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THREE students had a lucky escape after a fire tore through their terraced home in Old Portsmouth in the early hours.

NEIGHBOURS have spoken of their ordeal after a fire ripped through a student property and smoke billowed into their homes.

Shocked families awoke to the sound of sirens in the early hours yesterday after a blaze took hold in a terraced house in St Thomas’s Street, Old Portsmouth.

Fifteen firefighters desperately worked to ensure the fire didn’t spread to nearby homes – but smoke poured into lofts and through people’s living rooms as the fire intensified.

Recalling the drama, neighbour Mike Ballard, said: ‘The wife Fiona got up at 3.45am and heard the smoke alarm, and a lot of screaming.

‘I looked out of my window and I could see the reflection of the flames in the car windows and everything else.

A severe fire took hold at a student home in Old Portsmouth. Picture: Harry Cheesewright PPP-170217-112557001

A severe fire took hold at a student home in Old Portsmouth. Picture: Harry Cheesewright PPP-170217-112557001

‘And suddenly I heard their front window bang.

‘The people living there shouted that there was a fire and we needed to get out.

‘So I grabbed the dog and got out.

‘All the guys from the house were in the road, panicking.’

Mr Ballard called the fire service while a man living inside the burning house attempted to put out the flames. Mr Ballard said: ‘It was very dramatic.

‘The loft upstairs was full of smoke, and the fire brigade was pumping water onto the roof.’

Another neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said: ‘I got up, there was a bang on the door and I could see the fire brigade.

‘My house was full of smoke, they’ve been spending the morning ventilating the house getting the smoke out of the back door.’

Crews used four breathing apparatus, two main jets and a hose reel jet to put out the flames and ensure it did not spread to nearby properties.

One 36-year-old man was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, for smoke inhalation.

Southsea crew manager Syd Grant said: ‘We had a severe fire at St Thomas’s Street, Old Portsmouth.

‘Everyone had got out of the building.

‘The fire started on the first floor, in the front bedroom.’

The cause of the fire is currently unknown.