People living in a tower block only knew there had been a fire in their building after seeing a post on Facebook the following day.

Residents in 18-storey Theobald House, said there is no communal alarm system apart from on the ground floor- and no one can hear that.

It meant people on the top floor of the block in Blackman Street, Brighton and many beneath them did not know a fire had broken out until the following morning when they saw it being discussed on Facebook.

The Argus: The view out of a window in Theobald HouseThe view out of a window in Theobald House (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

Most of the flats at Theobald House are Brighton and Hove City Council flats.

Residents said they felt abandoned after the “terrifying” ordeal because the council did not attend two meetings they held to discuss the fire and the alarm system.

The blaze happened in the early hours of Sunday, February 18. It was not until the following Thursday that the council hand-delivered letters to residents telling them what to do in the event of a fire.

At a tenants and leaseholders meeting on Wednesday night, one person said: “The alarm sounded on the ground floor but what good is that? Most of us had no idea about the fire.

“There are no fire alarms in communal areas and no fire extinguishers. One of our neighbours was running around screaming ‘get out, get out’. I thought he was joking.”

The Argus: Signage telling people to raise the alarm was on every floor we visitedSignage telling people to raise the alarm was on every floor we visited (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

Signs in the building instruct people to raise the alarm using one of the "call points" if they discover a fire in a communal space. The Argus visited Theobald House and was unable to find any call points.

The meeting heard from a woman whose elderly, bed-bound mother lives several floors above where the fire broke out. She cannot walk and would have been unable to escape had she known about the blaze. She is now “petrified” to stay in her own home.

Dozens of residents of Theobald House attended the meeting on Wednesday.

The Argus: Theobald House was built on the top of the Trafalgar Street Car Park in 1966Theobald House was built on the top of the Trafalgar Street Car Park in 1966 (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

Georgina Parke, who arranged the meeting, said she was told by Justine Harris, head of tenancy services at the council, that she would attend. Ms Harris did not attend.

A second meeting was held on Thursday which council officers also failed to attend.

People living in the tower block are angry and disheartened by the response from the council.

“They just don’t care. Four days later and no one from the council had bothered to speak to us. They’re not interested in the fire or in our safety,” said one person at the meeting on Thursday.

People said they want reassurance that their homes are safe to live in and want to know what the council is doing to ensure their block is fitted with an alarm system “that works”.

The Argus: The fire melted a section of the ceiling on the fourth floorThe fire melted a section of the ceiling on the fourth floor (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

After being contacted by The Argus, the council delivered the letters to residents on Thursday evening from Geof Gage, head of housing investment. These included guidance on what to do in the event of a fire.

Gill Williams, chairwoman of the council’s housing committee, said she takes fire safety “very seriously”.

“We are pleased and relieved that nobody was injured as a result of the recent fire at Theobald House,” she said.

“The flat in question has been secured. The communal landing had some smoke damage and has now been cleaned.”

When The Argus visited on Wednesday, it was still possible to access the flat and the communal space on floor four was badly damaged due to the smoke.

The Argus: Fire damage in the communal space outside the flatFire damage in the communal space outside the flat (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

Cllr Williams added: “We hope the fact that the fire was contained in the flat it broke out in will help reassure our tenants. Because of this there was no need for tenants above or adjacent to the flat the fire broke out in to be evacuated.

“The council carries out regular fire safety checks in all high-rise blocks to ensure national fire safety standards are met.

“Since the fire we have carried out a joint fire safety audit with the fire service who raised no concerns regarding the safety of the block.

“This letter includes the advice shared in October on what to do if a fire breaks out in your home, and what to do if there is a fire elsewhere in the building.”

Cllr Williams said each flat is designed to contain a fire for an hour.

“Crucially, we advise residents not to tackle fires themselves unless they are sure they can do so safely themselves,” she said.

“People living in a flat where there is a fire should leave the building and call the fire service straight away.

“Fighting fires is extremely dangerous and should only be done by highly trained fire service staff, so with this in mind we do not put fire extinguishers in council properties for public use.

“Our letter includes contact information for tenants to discuss with us any fire safety concerns they may have.

“We are also working with the police to address concerns and have brought in private security to carry out regular patrols.”

READ MORE: Dog requires treatment after fire breaks out in Brighton high-rise

Residents said security guards have not been seen in the block for around six months.

Cllr Williams added: “Housing officers were invited at short notice to attend the recent resident meeting. We’re sorry they were unable to attend.

“We wrote to the chair of the resident association ahead of the meeting to explain this and to seek alternative dates.”