Residents rally to save four peopleÂ trapped inside burning Gosport flat
SCARED residentsÂ have admitted they fearedÂ the worst have hearing '˜screams' from a flat fire '“ before the community rallied to help save four people trapped inside.
Horrified neighbours said they could not believe their eyes when they sawÂ a four year old girl,Â a woman in her 50s andÂ a man and woman in their 20s stranded inside the burning building in Jervis Drive, Gosport just beforeÂ midnight on Wednesday.
All four were believed to have sufferedÂ smoke inhalation withÂ the childÂ taken to Queen AlexandraÂ Hospital as a precaution after residentsÂ helped them climb downÂ fromÂ the fourÂ metre high window.Â
Police areÂ investigating an allegation of arson with intent to endanger life '“ with aÂ 28-year-old man from GosportÂ arrested.
Residents have described the carnage that unfolded. A woman, who lives in the block but wished to remain anonymous, said: '˜I hear a loud banging noise and someone screamingÂ out 'help me'.
'˜A child was dropped out of the window into the arms of people who had rushed over to help them down. Then a woman lowered herself onto the window ledge before dropping onto the arms of a man beforeÂ they both fell onÂ the floor.
'˜There was lots of people there to help '“ it was a great community effort. Someone had smashed theÂ window andÂ was throwing water onto the fire while there was lots of people supporting those who were climbing out the window.'
She added: '˜It's very close to home but IÂ feel nothing but sorrow for the people who wereÂ inside.'
Another residentÂ said: '˜We heard the cries for help.Â My husband went over to help out. He put the young couple onto his shoulders to help get them down. Everyone is just gladÂ they are all OK.'
Ben Coombes, 29, and his partner Rachelle Pipe, 24, heard a commotion. Ben said: '˜We heard a loud bang and people shouting. There was a young child who was being passed out the window.'
Rachelle added: '˜It was scary but we are pleased everyone is OK. Everyone evacuated the building but we were back in after about half an hour.'Â Â
A joint police and fire investigation intoÂ the cause of the fire is now underway with forensic teams with sniffer dogs attending the sceneÂ this morning.
Anyone with information should contact 101 quoting reference 44180400893 orÂ call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.Â