RESIDENTS of a high rise block have said they fear for their lives after a fire.

Eight fire engines were sent to Kingfisher Court in Whitehawk. Brighton, yesterday after a cigarette started a blaze in a kitchen on the eighth floor.

The elderly brother and sister who live in the flat were able to escape safely, but neighbours said they were concerned by the lack of communal alarms and safety measures.

But Brighton and Hove City Council, which owns the block, said communal alarms would just spark false alarms.

Mother Carla Martin and her family only moved in four months ago. She said: “It is totally a death trap.

“I was having a nap at the time of the fire and didn’t hear anything.

“We woke up and looked out of the window to see all the fire engines but we hadn’t heard a thing before then.

“I have a six year old and a puppy to get out. I don’t feel safe there whatsoever. I 100 per cent don’t feel safe. It’s a joke.

“They sent out letters after Grenfell saying a certain number of flats had safety measures and others didn’t but nothing has changed since then.

“There are no communal smoke alarms. What are we paying £13 a week service charge for.”

Another Kingfisher Court resident, Jane James, said there had been a number of fires in the same top floor flat.

She said: “You cant hear anyone else’s alarm.

“My friend was actually in her flat for the whole time and no one told her there was a fire. She was terrified. What would happen if it was more serious? Who would go up to the eighth floor and get her?

“The council keep saying they’re making improvements but nothing happens.”

Jane Akhurst who lives on the first floor was on her way home from shopping with her son when she saw the fire engines outside.

She said: “I was pretty worried to see all the fire engines here. No one heard any fire alarms or anything. It does make me worried about my mum living here.”

A spokesman for the council said: “There are no alarms in common areas in this block. Current Government guidance states: ‘In general needs blocks designed to support a delayed evacuation policy, it is unnecessary and undesirable for a fire alarm system to be provided. A communal fire detection and alarm system will inevitably lead to a proliferation of false alarms. This will impose a burden on fire and rescue services and lead to residents ignoring warnings of genuine fires.’

“Most council blocks do not currently have sprinklers though we are retrofitting some according to risk . We’ll be reviewing our policy on sprinklers in tower blocks pending lessons or legislation arising from the Grenfell fire inquiry, starting imminently.”

A resident of neighbouring Kestrel Court said: “I think they should install sprinklers. We should have them just in case. We’d have more chance”

Residents did praise the response of firefighters - who had previously visited the block so knew where the staircases, entrances and exits were.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said they had implemented their unusual high rise procedure - sending at least six fire engines, but added that there was no single rule on whether tower blocks should have communal alarms.

A spokeswoman added: “Different buildings have different measures.”

She also urged people to check their homes before bed, put out cigarettes properly making sure no embers are burning. Heaters, cookers and other appliances should also be turned off. Exits should be kept clear and internal doors closed at night to prevent a fire spreading.