ANGRY residents have called for action to make sure they are not burned alive if another fire breaks out in their flats.

On Friday night as a blaze destroyed a man’s flat in Brighton many of his neighbours were not immediately aware of the drama unfolding near them.

His neighbours at the Calendula block of flats in Donald Hall Road have told how they called for help once they realised what was going on.

But they have said they are ‘shocked’ at how Brighton and Hove City Council handled them, and said more work needs to be done to improve their safety.

Geraldine O’Sullivan who lives on the sixth floor with her husband, Adam, said: “An accident happened. Fine. But we are incredibly disheartened with the lack of council support and professional help. Sorry now is not good enough. We want someone to step forward and take responsibility for this lack of care.

“The fire brigade were incredible, completely faultless, but I am horrified at the council’s behaviour. Almost an entire day after the fire we were still sitting in this block of flats with what could be toxic smoke drifting in the air and the stairwell is just black and laden with smoke stains. I feel like we have just been ignored and left in this state. It’s a huge risk to all our health.”

On Saturday afternoon, councillor Nancy Platts and Justine Harris, housing options manager at Brighton and Hove City Council attended a meeting demanded by Mrs O’Sullivan and her neighbours.

The residents made a list of orders as they vented their frustration.

Mrs O’Sullivan said on behalf of all those at the meeting that if the council representatives failed to arrange for specialist cleaners to come around within an hour, they would all pack their bags and demand to be rehomed until the job had been done.

Leslie Morrison, who has been living in the estate for about 30 years said: “We don’t have any alarms in the stairwell and corridors.

“Most of us had no idea that there was a fire.

“If I would have opened my door for long enough I could have probably killed every one of my family members inside because of that thick black smoke.

“If we had alarms in the communal areas in the building then we would know if there was a fire and know to keep our fire doors firmly shut.

“We are so angry with the council.

“We have children coming in and out of this flat. If anything had happened to my grandchildren there would be heads rolling.”

She said in all the time she has lived in the block, she has never experienced a fire drill.

And there is no emergency lighting to help guide residents out of the building, residents said.

Ms Morrison’s daughter, Chyvonne said there are no signs of sprinklers in the building.

She said: “We all thought lessons would be learnt from the Grenfell disaster, and that the council made sure buildings like these had proper safety checks.

“Do they care if it’s safe for us now? Smoke is worse than fire and we are still breathing it in. We were breathing in the aftermath of the fire.”

The residents said the tiles in the flat that caught fire were from the 1950s and fear they have asbestos in them. They demanded a full asbestos test in the flat.

Collectively the residents told both Ms Platts and Ms Harris that “the council really need a kick up the a**e.”

In a statement issued on Saturday a council spokeswoman said: “We were alerted as soon as a fire broke out yesterday at Calendula House, Brighton. We joined our colleagues from East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service and other agencies to manage the situation at the flats.

“The fire was quickly put out and colleagues from the fire service visited residents afterwards. The council arranged for a cleaner, gas contractor, electrician, joiner and plumber to attend the flats yesterday (Friday, 11 January)” to start clean up and repairs as soon as the fire was out. More work will be done to clean up smoke and water damage in areas of the building affected by the impact of the fire on the second storey. We’re aware residents have expressed concerns that no fire alarms are fitted in the communal areas of the building.

“The fire service advise that the fire escape strategy for this type of property does not require fire alarms in communal areas.

“Residents are encouraged to have working and correctly fitted smoke alarms in their own flats. We will be working with the fire service to reassure residents that all proper safety measures have been taken and offer advice on smoke alarms where needed.”