Fire victim tells of lucky escape from Portsmouth flat blaze

BLAZE The flat in St James' Road in Portsmouth where firefighters tackled a blaze.  Picture: Steve Reid (120909-013)
BLAZE The flat in St James' Road in Portsmouth where firefighters tackled a blaze. Picture: Steve Reid (120909-013)
Amanda Morby, Portsmouth

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A MAN who was sleeping in his first floor flat when a severe fire broke out has spoken of his escape.

Hedi Abdullah, 24, was woken by his smoke alarm in the early hours of yesterday morning and found a raging fire just yards away from his bed.

He grabbed his phone and managed to safely get out of his flat at Ponsonby House, in St James’ Road, Somers Town, before phoning the emergency services.

Three crews from Southsea were called to the incident at 4.51am to tackle the blaze.

Mr Abdullah said: ‘I didn’t know what was happening, I woke up and saw a fire around the TV area.

‘There was so much smoke that I could hardly see and I got out as quickly as I could.

‘I did think about trying to grab some stuff but the fire was rising so quickly that I didn’t want to take the risk.

‘I lost everything. All I have left are the clothes I’m wearing.

‘But that doesn’t matter – I got out and that’s the main thing.’

The 14 firefighters called to the incident checked on the safety of other people in the four-storey block, but there was no evacuation.

It took them around two hours to douse the blaze, clear the area of smoke, make the scene safe and check that no other flats had been damaged.

A fire investigation team continued to work at the scene for some time to investigate the cause of the fire.

Dean Dolman, 32, who lives two doors away from the damaged first-floor flat, said: ‘I was woken by the blue flashing lights and the sirens.’

He added: ‘Then a fire officer knocked on the door and asked if there was any smoke damage in my flat, but there was none.

‘It’s not every day that you get woken by a fireman in a mask in the middle of the night.

‘I looked out and could see smoke billowing from the door of the flat.

‘I was concerned, but they told me it was okay and I trusted that.’