'˜Frightening' scenes as 94-year-old woman's flat left '˜charred' in dramatic Hilsea blaze

PEOPLE living at a Hilsea flat block have told of the '˜frightening' moment they were evacuated as a blaze tore through their neighbour's property.

Thursday, 20th December 2018, 5:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:30 am
Blackened plaster above the flat badly damaged in a fire at Phoenix Square, Hilsea. Picture: Habibur Rahman

The drama came as the lounge of a ground-floor flat at the two-storey Phoenix Square was completely destroyed in a fire which broke out just after midday today.

Those at the block said a 94-year-old woman who lives in the now-charred flat ran outside shouting '˜help' '“ before a '˜heroic' upstairs neighbour sprung into action and called the emergency services at 12.44pm. 

He then proceeded to knock on his neighbours' doors in a bid to evacuate them all. 

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Blackened plaster above the flat badly damaged in a fire at Phoenix Square, Hilsea. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Daniel and Monica McCrohon have lived adjacent to the damaged flat since 2015.

'˜We heard a bang at the door and when we opened it to look outside you could see the smoke billowing out of the flat,' said Mr McCrohon, 68.

'˜The firemen put the windows through round the back of [our neighbour's] flat because they weren't sure she was there '“ she's 94 '“ but thankfully she was okay.' 

Mrs McCrohan, also 68, said: '˜All of her stuff is ruined '“ her clothes and her three-piece are charred. 

'˜It's so sad because she is such a lovely lady but she was so brave. She told us she knew she needed to get out and the firemen all told her how well she did.' 

Sheila Norris has lived at Phoenix Square for 22 years and described the evacuation efforts of her neighbour as '˜heroic'.

'˜I just went into the bedroom and I could see all this black, thick smoke blowing across the way and I thought 'what on Earth?',' the 83-year-old said.

'˜Then I opened the front door and the balcony was full of smoke '“ you couldn't see from my front door to the next '“ it was black and it was frightening.

'˜The fire's made a hell of a mess but the firefighters were absolutely brilliant.' 

The lady living in the affected property was evacuated safely, but heat and smoke damaged 60 per cent of the rest of the flat.

It is not yet known how the fire started.