UPDATE: Billingshurst blaze forces occupants to re-home

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A BLAZE that ripped through the roof of a Billingshurst house this morning (Tuesday April 17) has forced the occupants to re-home.

Firefighters were called to the scene in Station Road around 4.30am.

Crew said the residents were ‘woken up to the sound of crackling’.

Occupant Mark Worpole, 56, told the County Times of the moment he know his house was burning down.

He said: “It’s quite devastating.

“I woke up and I thought that my son was moving around in the house. I thought he was ill so I walked up to the top floor and I saw flames coming through the balcony door.

“So at that point I got everyone out of the house. You always assume that the most important thing is life and limb.

“The fire brigade came out and did a fantastic job,” he added.

Crews tackled the blaze for nearly five hours before it was brought under control.

Mark Hayter, station commander at Worthing, said: “On arrival crew found a serious fire to the top floor roof space.

“We deployed jets to the outside and we sent breathing apparatus in to fight the fire from the inside.”

Five units attended the incident which involved 16 breathing apparatus and three jets.

He continued: “We tackled the blaze from about 4.45am until around 9am.

“Burning was suffered to the top floor balcony and the occupants will have to rehouse themselves due to the extend of the damage.”

The commander said ‘the fire broke out on the balcony area’, and while the cause is under investigation, ‘we believe it to be electrical related’.

He added: “We commend his actions to get out, stay out and call the fire brigade - it was the right thing to do.

“I would like to take this opportunity to ask people to double check their smoke alarms and make sure they are working.”

For more information on smoke alarms and fire safety visit West Sussex County Council