Elderly people forced to evacuate Horsham apartments fire

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A fire in assisted living apartments saw homes fill with smoke and elderly and disabled people forced to evacuate their homes in the early hours.

The fire service was called to Highwood Mill apartments in The Boulevard, at around 2.30am on Friday, January 12, and firefighters had to help two people to safety, a spokesman confirmed.

Although the blaze was out by the time firefighters arrived, they had to use breathing apparatus to enter the heavily smoke-logged homes to get people out.

One 70-year-old woman, who lives there with her disabled husband, 82, saw she didn’t get back in until 4.30am.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said: “There’s about 100 people here, all elderly or vulnerable.

“The fire started in the kitchen of one of the apartments, I don’t think anybody was hurt.

“Breathing was difficult, a lot of the people were the other side of the building and slept through it.

“Two fire engines came and had trouble turning the alarms off.

“We had smoke coming under our door and started coughing and managed to get out and used staircase, my husband and I got downstairs, the fire was on first floor.

“We finally got back in at 4.30am.”

She said the carers who turned up ‘were really helpful’.

The spokesman for West Sussex Fire & Rescue said there were no reported injuries.