A survivor of the fire which caused extensive damage to a block of retirement flats in Huntingdon has praised the community for rallying round to help residents who were evacuated from the building.

Elm Tree Court in Huntingdon. Picture: ARCHANTElm Tree Court in Huntingdon. Picture: ARCHANT

Pam Grainger, 88, said no-one panicked when the alarm was raised at about 10.30pm on Friday when many of the residents were preparing for bed.

She was still in her nightdress when she left Elm Tree Court, on the ring road, and was taken to the adjacent Cromwell House nursing home where she was given temporary accommodation.

“Nobody panicked, everybody was so kind,” she said. “I thought ‘it can’t be happening’. I still can’t believe it. It was as if it was happening to somebody else.

“People were so wonderful, so helpful, and of course nobody was hurt.”

Pam said: “It was too hot to do anything and I was watching TV, a lot of us were, and I was wearing my nightdress.

“There was a knock on the door and someone shouted ‘Come out, there’s a fire on the roof’, I wanted to go and get some things but they said ‘No, out’. I was in my nightdress.”

She said Cromwell House handed out blankets and took some of the residents in and others had been found accommodation elsewhere.

Pam said: “On Saturday McCarthy and Stone (which operates the flats) escorted us to our rooms so we could get a change of clothes, medicine and so on.”

She said her room smelt of smoke and was damp from the firefighting.