Brighton YMCA fire under investigation

The Argus: Julie Dennison Julie Dennison

A fire at a homeless hostel is being investigated.

The blaze started on the first floor of the YMCA in Old Steine, Brighton, at about 4.50pm.

The Victorian building, which is home to about 60 people, was badly damaged by smoke and flames.

The fire was contained by 6pm but firefighters continued to work to douse flare-ups in wall cavities and try to find 12 people they said were missing.

At 8pm East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service group commander Mark Rist said: “We are completing the final checks of the building but we are reasonably confident all the missing residents are accounted for."

About 60 people living in the YMCA were collected by Brighton and Hove City Council and taken to temporary shelter.

About 30 people were taken to Hove Town Hall for the night.

Others were being housed in hotels and bed and breakfast accommodation.

A council spokesman said: "We have a statutory duty to ensure people are housed, particularly vulnerable people.

"Our staff are going to take care of them through the night. Tomorrow they'll be relocated in temporary accommodation."

Members of the public said they saw smoke billowing from the windows of the YMCA late in the afternoon.

The fire spread upwards onto the second floor towards the roof.

Most people living in the building were outside by the time firefighters arrived.

They gathered on the grass near the Dolphin fountain on the other side of the road as firefighters arrived.

Witnesses said the smoke seemed to be coming from the back of the building.

Resident Daniel Coe said the fire had spred to his room on the top floor of the building.

“Mr Coe, 25, said: “I was downstairs and I heard the fire alarm. I thought it was a test.

“Then I could smell smoke.

“All of my stuff was in there. I don’t know where I’m going to stay.”

Another resident, who did not want to be named, said he had only been released from Lewes prison yesterday morning.

He said: “I’ve been away three years and just come back today.

“I put my stuff in the room then went to sign on at probation and when I got back it was like this.

“Everything I own in the world was in there, my clothes, my money, pictures of my kids.”

Buildings on either side of the YMCA were also evacuated.

About 12 fire engines, three ambulances and police were still working at the scene at 7.20pm.

Sussex fire services were stretched because of a number of floodings at houses and road drains following storms in the afternoon.

Firefighters from Barcombe and Lewes were taking part in the operation as well as crews from across the city.

A spokeswoman for Sussex Police said: "An investigation into the cause and seat of the fire, which has left the building badly damaged, will take place in due course."

Comments (14)

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5:51pm Tue 7 Jul 09

kkj says...

Just passed through the Old Steine, no sign of any smoke or flames, lots of fire brigade and lots of rain.
Just passed through the Old Steine, no sign of any smoke or flames, lots of fire brigade and lots of rain. kkj

6:26pm Tue 7 Jul 09

Brightonscouse says...

I've just been past there to and couldn't help noticing the absence of flames or smoke.
I've just been past there to and couldn't help noticing the absence of flames or smoke. Brightonscouse

7:10pm Tue 7 Jul 09

Chicken and Beans says...

I think you'll find, you two idiots, that this happened at about 5ish. So, if you were to pass at 5:51pm and 6:26pm respectively, and after 6 fire crews and the heaviest rain ever.......... DOESN'T TAKE A GENIUS!
I think you'll find, you two idiots, that this happened at about 5ish. So, if you were to pass at 5:51pm and 6:26pm respectively, and after 6 fire crews and the heaviest rain ever.......... DOESN'T TAKE A GENIUS! Chicken and Beans

7:14pm Tue 7 Jul 09

Brightonscouse says...

Chicken and Beans wrote:
I think you'll find, you two idiots, that this happened at about 5ish. So, if you were to pass at 5:51pm and 6:26pm respectively, and after 6 fire crews and the heaviest rain ever.......... DOESN'T TAKE A GENIUS!
Well thankyou Columbo give yourself a pat on the back.
It's amazing how people need to insult over the most trivial things we were only saying what we saw.
[quote][p][bold]Chicken and Beans[/bold] wrote: I think you'll find, you two idiots, that this happened at about 5ish. So, if you were to pass at 5:51pm and 6:26pm respectively, and after 6 fire crews and the heaviest rain ever.......... DOESN'T TAKE A GENIUS![/p][/quote]Well thankyou Columbo give yourself a pat on the back. It's amazing how people need to insult over the most trivial things we were only saying what we saw. Brightonscouse

7:40pm Tue 7 Jul 09

kkj says...

Brightonscouse wrote:
Chicken and Beans wrote:
I think you'll find, you two idiots, that this happened at about 5ish. So, if you were to pass at 5:51pm and 6:26pm respectively, and after 6 fire crews and the heaviest rain ever.......... DOESN'T TAKE A GENIUS!
Well thankyou Columbo give yourself a pat on the back.
It's amazing how people need to insult over the most trivial things we were only saying what we saw.
What he said!
[quote][p][bold]Brightonscouse[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Chicken and Beans[/bold] wrote: I think you'll find, you two idiots, that this happened at about 5ish. So, if you were to pass at 5:51pm and 6:26pm respectively, and after 6 fire crews and the heaviest rain ever.......... DOESN'T TAKE A GENIUS![/p][/quote]Well thankyou Columbo give yourself a pat on the back. It's amazing how people need to insult over the most trivial things we were only saying what we saw.[/p][/quote]What he said! kkj

8:19pm Tue 7 Jul 09

number_6 says...

Chicken and Beans wrote:
I think you'll find, you two idiots, that this happened at about 5ish. So, if you were to pass at 5:51pm and 6:26pm respectively, and after 6 fire crews and the heaviest rain ever.......... DOESN'T TAKE A GENIUS!
So explain Mr. Genius, why, when I went past at approximately 5.15, there was no smoke then either!
[quote][p][bold]Chicken and Beans[/bold] wrote: I think you'll find, you two idiots, that this happened at about 5ish. So, if you were to pass at 5:51pm and 6:26pm respectively, and after 6 fire crews and the heaviest rain ever.......... DOESN'T TAKE A GENIUS![/p][/quote]So explain Mr. Genius, why, when I went past at approximately 5.15, there was no smoke then either! number_6

8:28pm Tue 7 Jul 09

mark 62 says...

there is no smoke without fire! take note..
there is no smoke without fire! take note.. mark 62

9:43pm Tue 7 Jul 09

scentral says...

All those who are moaning that they missed out on seeing any smoke or flames,
obviously needed to cross the police corden and go right up to the back of the building at the East Street end.
All those who are moaning that they missed out on seeing any smoke or flames, obviously needed to cross the police corden and go right up to the back of the building at the East Street end. scentral

10:59pm Tue 7 Jul 09

35whatever says...

I came through Old Steine at 5pm and there was some smoke but nothing major.
I came through Old Steine at 5pm and there was some smoke but nothing major. 35whatever

11:21pm Tue 7 Jul 09

Chicken and Beans says...

Brightonscouse wrote:
Chicken and Beans wrote:
I think you'll find, you two idiots, that this happened at about 5ish. So, if you were to pass at 5:51pm and 6:26pm respectively, and after 6 fire crews and the heaviest rain ever.......... DOESN'T TAKE A GENIUS!
Well thankyou Columbo give yourself a pat on the back.
It's amazing how people need to insult over the most trivial things we were only saying what we saw.
Go steal some wheels.
[quote][p][bold]Brightonscouse[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Chicken and Beans[/bold] wrote: I think you'll find, you two idiots, that this happened at about 5ish. So, if you were to pass at 5:51pm and 6:26pm respectively, and after 6 fire crews and the heaviest rain ever.......... DOESN'T TAKE A GENIUS![/p][/quote]Well thankyou Columbo give yourself a pat on the back. It's amazing how people need to insult over the most trivial things we were only saying what we saw.[/p][/quote]Go steal some wheels. Chicken and Beans

10:23am Wed 8 Jul 09

Brightonscouse says...

Well arn't you a grown up big man chucking stereotypes from behind your lap top. Tell you what how about you tell me where your parked and i'll have yours away just to humour your childish but wide of the mark portrayal of people from Liverpool.
While you sit there and struggle with your own insecurities by starting arguments on a local paper's forum i can sit here safe in the knowledge that anything i would ever have to say to you i would have the integrity to say it face to face instead of hiding behind the anonimity of a computer.
Stereotypes are only formed by the naive and ignorant.
Well arn't you a grown up big man chucking stereotypes from behind your lap top. Tell you what how about you tell me where your parked and i'll have yours away just to humour your childish but wide of the mark portrayal of people from Liverpool. While you sit there and struggle with your own insecurities by starting arguments on a local paper's forum i can sit here safe in the knowledge that anything i would ever have to say to you i would have the integrity to say it face to face instead of hiding behind the anonimity of a computer. Stereotypes are only formed by the naive and ignorant. Brightonscouse

12:08pm Wed 8 Jul 09

andyatit says...

It must've been the white lightening
It must've been the white lightening andyatit

1:24pm Wed 8 Jul 09

Granny says...

Now, now chidren lets not get personal.
Now, now chidren lets not get personal. Granny

1:25pm Wed 8 Jul 09

Granny says...

Sorry, s/b Children,finger missed the letter l.
Sorry, s/b Children,finger missed the letter l. Granny

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