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Residents forced to seek temporary accommodation after fire at flats

PUBLISHED: 17:08 06 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:09 06 January 2019

The house could be seen ablaze from neighbouring properties. Picture: AJ ELIZABETH

The house could be seen ablaze from neighbouring properties. Picture: AJ ELIZABETH

Archant

Investigations are continuing today into a fire which destroyed a block of flats in Colchester and led to residents having to be evacuated.

The blaze started on the morning of January 5: Picture: GINA SIMMSThe blaze started on the morning of January 5: Picture: GINA SIMMS

The blaze broke out in Golden Noble Hill which led to seven fire crews being called in from across the county to tackle the incident.

And it prompted a social media fundraising page being set up to help the families who were left devastated by the fire at the two-storey building which started around 10am yesterday forcing them to seek temporary accommodation.

Gina Simms, who lives in the street, set up the “gofundme” page after hearing that the families had been relocated and by 5pm today it had raised £220 of the £600 goal.

She said: “I went outside because a fire engine roared past and stopped near to mine.

“I opened the door to people running and thick black smoke. I thought it was my next door neighbour it was that bad.

“I walked up to check and saw flames from the flats behind us. I heard loads of screaming and within a minute the roof collapsed.

“I feel gutted for the families, it was so terrifying to look at, let alone be living there. I just hope that the funding page fills up. They need help.”

Fire crews tackled the blaze throughout the day, finally leaving the scene at 4pm.

Two crews were deployed from the town along with those from Tiptree, Brightlingsea, Mersea and Clacton.

A further engine with an aerial ladder platform from Chelmsford was requested by the officer in charge so that the fire could be tackled from above.

Alice Nevard, who lives in a neighboring flat, said: “I don’t know the extent of damage as I’ve not been allowed back in.

“I feel heartbroken but happy that we are all safe as things can be replaced, lives can’t.

“Me and my partner were moved to Clacton without food or money, just the clothes off our backs. I’m diabetic and epileptic so this is a real strain, I also have PTSD. I imagine this will exacerbate it.

“We were just told to get out to safety as our places could have ‘blown’ because of the gas which had to be shut off as an emergency, so we sat outside in the freezing cold with nothing for three to four hours.

“Our neighbour’s that weren’t affected were rallying around offering tea and biscuits and blankets.”

A spokesman for the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: “A full investigation into the cause of the fire will go ahead.”

To donate to the fund go to https://www.gofundme.com/help-for-the-families-who-lost-everything-in-fire

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