A fire in Brighton in January had residence on edge as they were being advised to stay put – to stay in their flats rather than trying to leave their flat and the building. The order to stay put during the Grenfell Tower fire a year and a half ago is still fresh in everyone’s mind. That fire damaged the psyche of the whole of the UK and around the world. It is human nature to flee from a fire and would be very hard to stay put when you know part of the building you are in is on fire. Depending on fire experts to keep you safe, which in most cases, they are able to. The Grenfell Tower was not equipped for a fire and the cladding was the main cause of the fire spreading so quickly. This could not have been foreseen by the fire services, unfortunately.

A “stay put” policy is based on the theory that buildings can be designed to prevent fire spreading, so a blaze in one flat should not be able to spread to another. Despite the disastrous outcome of the Grenfell Tower fire, fire experts say “stay put” is still the best advice – as long as the building has proper fire-suppression protections, such as multiple stairwells, sprinkler systems, fireproof doors and flame-resistant construction materials, some of which were lacking in the London blaze.

“It is human nature for most of us – if we know there’s a fire, start moving and get out,” said Robert Solomon of the National Fire Protection Association, a U.S.-based organization that studies fire safety globally. “But we try to make sure people know there are features and redundancies in buildings that you can count on, and you can stay put.”

This fire was not a ‘tower’ fire. The building has 6 storeys (Grenfell Tower had 24 storeys) but panic is inescapable given the circumstances. A fire service spokesman said the alert came in of the ‘severe fire’ just before 7pm, and eight fire engines from Lewes, Roedean, Brighton, Hove, and West Sussex were called to Donald Hall Road.

The spokesman for the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said: “A man was rescued from the flat and taken to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. Another four residents were given fire survival guidance and were assisted out of the building. “Crews used ten breathing apparatus, one jet hose and two hose reels to extinguish the fire.” The spokesman also revealed that the fire broke out from a bedroom of one of the flats in the building, which pictures suggest was in the second floor.

Residents caught up in the fire were ‘advised to stay put’ in the six-storey building by ‘various specialist officers’, as confirmed by the fire service. The reassurance that ‘various specialist officers’ confirmed that residents should stay put helped the situation. While the fire was considered severe, the experts were able to assess the situation and calm the residents.

Roads in the area were reportedly blocked, whilst pedestrians were diverted to another path. The fire service spokesman said the incident was controlled at 8.21pm and crews carried out welfare and home safety checks on all remaining residents.