'We just had to get out as soon as possible': Residents tell of panic as neighbour's house burns

Residents who live next door to a house which caught fire today said they thought their house was going to burn down.

Ayesha Smethurst said her dog Alfie was 'terrified' when they realised that the house next door was on fire.

Burnt belongings outside the back window of the property in Kingsham Road

Burnt belongings outside the back window of the property in Kingsham Road

Five fire engines attended the scene in Kingsham Road at 10.20am. Four engines from West Sussex and one from Hampshire.

Read the original story here: Fire crews attending Chichester house fire urge public 'please avoid the area'
Ayesha's mother, April Godin recalled the 'acrid smell' of burning material. "We weren't sure what was so weren't sure it was anything, we've had people knock on the door and run away so we though it might be that.

"A few minutes later it happened again."

April's daughter, Ayesha Smethurst, then noticed the fire, alerted the family and took their pets outside. April added: "We just had to get out as soon as possible.

Ayesha Smethurst said Alfie the dog was 'terrified'

Ayesha Smethurst said Alfie the dog was 'terrified'

"I really thought my house was going to burn down."

Read the update here: Crews tackle Chichester house fire
After seeing the fire grip their next door neighbour's home, April's daughter decided to ask for donations of clothing and children's toys and said donations had already been coming from concerned members of the public.

"We feel sorry for the boys. They are going to come out of school and find that they don't have anything. They've got nothing left and they've got three children. As much helps as possible from people, it would be nice. They have got no toys, nothing."

Anyone wishing to make donations should drop them off to 56 Kingsham Road, Chichester or to the online fundraiser here.

Picture showing fire damage to the rear of the property on Kingsham Road

Picture showing fire damage to the rear of the property on Kingsham Road

Residents said the reaction from the emergency service had been 'brilliant' and April and her family had been bringing out tea and coffee to the firefighters.