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West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, more accustomed to extinguishing fires, came to the aid of a Chichester couple in the early hours of this morning after a huge block of ice crashed through their roof as they slept.
Firefighters from Red Watch in Chichester were called at 1.42 this morning after the block of ice, believed to have fallen from an aircraft, smashed a 2ft hole through the second floor flat roof at Summerdale Court in Chichester.
Flat owner Vince Foot and his wife were fast asleep when they were woken by an almighty crash.
Mr Foot described what happened:
"I was woken by an unbelievable bang. I thought at first it was thunder and I got up to investigate. I tried to open the spare bedroom door and it wouldn't move. When I forced it open I couldn't believe what I was seeing. There was an enormous hole in both the roof and the bedroom ceiling and there were great chunks of ice everywhere.
"My wife and I are in a state of shock, but we also feel like we've had a lucky escape. The ice smashed through the room our grandchildren sleep in when they visit, which is a terrifying thought. It is such a freak incident, but it could have been so much worse. Tiles and roof debris have been scattered nearly 30 feet so I don't want to imagine the force with which it hit."
Mr Foot was also quick to praise the fire crew who attended, "The firefighters were brilliant, they put a temporary cover over the hole and were very reassuring."
Red Watch Manager Pete Windsor said:
"This is one of the strangest incidents we've been called to, we are just relieved that nobody was hurt and that we were able to offer them some assistance. They have had a miraculous escape really."