MANAGERS from a Hereford retirement home have thanked the community for their support after a fire spread through one of their apartments.

Four residents were treated for smoke inhalation after flames ripped through a ground floor bedroom at Henffordd Gardens in Moorfields last night. 

In total, 25 people sought refuge at the nearby Courtyard arts centre as fire crews tackled the blaze. However, no one was seriously hurt.

In a statement, the Independence Trust, which manages the home on Penhaligon Way, said: "We'd like to thank the emergency services for their incredible response along with the team at The Courtyard for providing support and facilities.

"In fact, thank you to everyone involved. We're lost for words about the kind support we've received and are incredibly lucky to live and work where we do."

An assessement of the scene carried out this morning has revealed that smoke has damaged a corridor and "surrounding apartments".

But maintenance teams aniticipate that these areas will be to normal by the end of today.

"The apartment where the fire broke out has been damaged significantly," the Trust added.

"But today all tenants, apart from one, will be back home.

"We're still investigating the cause of the fire but can confirm that it was not caused by a gas or electrical fault."

Station Commander Neil Lilwall of Hereford & Worcester Fire & Rescure Service, commended the Trust on its evacuation.

"Procedures were put in my place by the staff here so everybody was evacuated prior to our arrival," he said.

"We did have four members of the residents who were suffering from smoke inhalation but they were treated and discharged on scene, so they're fine.

"The fire was contained in the room it started in, so it hasn't spread anywhere.

"There's limited smoke damage to the ground floor corridor but we're mitiagting that now and we're working with Herefordshire Housing representatives to clear up so the residents can get back to their rooms.

"There were four appliances here in total, with 25 to 35 firefighters from Hereford and Fownhope, as well as two specialist officers."

Peter Brown, chief executive of Herefordshire Housing, added that he heard the news at 6.30pm and and raced to the scene from his Worcester home.

"A lot of my colleagues who work at Herefordshire Housing were already on the site and helping out," he explained.

"The most important thing for us is the safety of the residents and it's great to hear that our procedures worked and we got people out.

"We're really grateful to the Courtyard who have helped people temporaily with cups of tea and our job is to make sure that the homes are ok to go back into."