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Fire rips through sheltered housing in St Leonards
More than two dozen elderly and vulnerable pensioners were left stranded after a major fire broke out at their sheltered accommodation.
Officials were yesterday working flat out to find emergency temporary placements for 27 people, many of whomneed extra care and support.
Up to 55 firefighters from across Sussex battled from 8.30am to bring the blaze at Marlborough House in Warrior Square, St Leonards, under control.
Eleven fire engines and three aerial ladder platforms were needed as crews worked to stop the fire in the roof of the six-storey building spreading to other properties.
By 5.30pm the incident had been scaled down but five fire engines remained at the scene.
The 32 residents living in sheltered flats in the building, were evacuated and three taken to hospital.
Their condition was not said to be lifethreatening.
The area was cordoned off for most of the day, causing severe congestion in the town centre.
Pipes were used to take water from the sea to tackle the blaze.
Some nearby residents also reported on Twitter their water supplies had been affected because of demand.
Flames and smoke could be seen coming from the building from miles away.
Residents were cared for by volunteers at Christ Church in London Road while Hastings Borough Council liaised with Hyde Housing Association, which runs Marlborough House, to find places for them to go.
The manager at Asda in St Leonards donated food worth around £100 for the pensioners’ lunch.
Council leader Jeremy Birch said: “Our priority is to find places for the residents to stay and that will be quite a challenge.
“Obviously it has been a very distressing time for them as they are worried about what damage has been done to their homes and all their treasured possessions.
“They have been full of praise for the work done by the firefighters.
“Once the fire is out and the damage can be assessed, we can work out what the next step is.”
Investigations are expected to continue today to assess the extent of the damage and how the fire began.
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