A man has spoken of his shock after a fire tore through an apartment block.

Householders left their homes in their dressing gowns and pyjamas after the blaze started at Walk House in Brighton.

The fire started at the property in North Road, in the early hours of yesterday.

Frightened residents made their way out in time and it is believed that nobody was hurt.

David Crisp, 54, woke up in his flat in Walk House at 5am to the smell of burning and dialled 999.

He said: “It was a bit of a hairy moment. I could hear some burning timber and the fire was right outside our flat.

“I rushed downstairs and there were flames across the main entrance.

“I called the fire brigade straight away and luckily they were already on their way.”

Fire crews were sent out at 4.48 am and were at the scene until 5.58am.

A road was closed off while crews worked to put out the fire using hose reels and breathing apparatus.

Mr Crisp said: “I was in my dressing gown and other people were in their pyjamas when we were evacuated. It was pretty scary at first but no one was hurt.”

Mr Crisp lives on the top floor of Walk House so his property was not damaged but he believes thousands of pounds’ worth of damage was done to lower floors.

Some of the damaged parts of the building were brought out on to the pavement.

Mr Crisp said: “I’m on the top but I think there’s damage to the structure on the first floor. We’re lucky that no one was hurt.”

An investigation has been launched by Sussex Police and East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, who are treating the incident as suspicious.

A fire service spokesman said there were no reports of injuries.