PEOPLE in the community have rallied to help a Shoreham family make their Christmas special after their flat went up in flames last week.
A mass of toys and funds have been donated to Libby Annels, 19, Jack Demario, 21, and their 23-month-old daughter Arabella, after their kitchen was destroyed in a fire on Thursday in Church Green, Shoreham.
One man spoke of the shocking moment the fire erupted through the kitchen when he was in his neighbours’ flat.
“It started to smoke from the tumble-dryer and I switched off the electric,” explained Lance Robinson, who lives in the same building as Libby and Jack.
“An aerosol can on a shelf above fell down and there was a God almighty pop and that’s when the fire really kicked in,” added the 38-year-old.
Josie Bradnam, 21, lives next door to the family. She had to leave her home in a hurry after hearing the ‘bang’.
She said: “I opened the front door and loads of smoke came in. I had to get my daughter out. People were running around.
“I saw the neighbours’ window was on the floor and within seconds flames went up the side of their house.”
Three fire engines from Shoreham and Hove attended the blaze in Church Green at 5.50pm.
Firefighters said the blaze was accidental, having been caused by aerosols in the ground-floor kitchen.
One woman was treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation.
Four breathing apparatus, four hose reels and a foam jet were used to tackle the fire.
The next day, Shoreham residents began flocking to the New Shoreham-by-Sea Facebook group to see what they could do to help.
Lance continued: “The family can’t believe the generosity of people. They’re so grateful, especially at this time of year. It makes you feel good inside that people bother to do that.
The family is being assigned new accomodation by Adur Distrcit Council.
Donations like toys are being accepted at The Longshore restaurant, in Brighton Road, Shoreham, or make a donation at www.gofundme.com/irupz8.
On the site, Libby’s twin, Laura, says: “It’s so close to Christmas and Bella’s birthday, so anything would be appreciated.”