In total eight fire crews fought a massive blaze overnight which swept through the semi-detached property on Rannock Road.
The fire service responded to emergency calls at shortly before 10pm on Sunday (4th January). On arrival, an elderly lady who managed to escape was given oxygen by firefighters, before being taken to hospital by ambulance for treatment for smoke inhalation.
Two dog are missing and it is assumed they perished in the fire. The owner is said to be ‘distraught’ that she wasn’t able to rescue her pets.
In addition to fire crews from Crowborough, Uckfield, Wadhurst and Heathfield; East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s Command Support Unit along with the Hazardous Area Response Team were both also mobilised to the scene.
The fire originated in the hallway and spread very quickly to the roof, severely damaging the whole property. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus tackled the blaze with water and foam jets.
Relief officers and crews were sent to the incident at 3 and 5am.
On Monday morning fire investigators began examining the building. The investigation is still ongoing, but initial findings seem to suggest the cause of the fire is accidental.
Neighbours have said the woman’s husband was not at the property, as he was inhospital following a fall a few months ago. There was a suggestion the home is without central heating and the owners were known to dry their washing in front of their open fire.
Bedrooms in the adjoining house were also damaged in the blaze.
On Monday afternoon, ESFRS’s high aerial ladder was brought-up from Brighton so that the Incident Commander and Building Control Officer could make an assessment of the safety of the structure. Additional water was needed at the scene for damping down and came from the Water Carrier based at Uckfield.
Crews have been unable to complete their investigation of the fire, due to the building being deemed unsafe by structural experts from the East Sussex Building Control Partnership.