Firefighters and neighbours today spoke of their struggle to save a woman trapped inside a burning flat after a candle sparked a blaze.
The woman in her 50s was saved by neighbours Owen O’Brien and his friend Marie Bardsley after they spotted flames at the window of an upstairs flat as they returned to their Layton home.
Fearing the occupant of the flat in Laycock Gate was in danger, the pair raced to her front door and called 999.
Ms Bardsley, 41, said: “I’d been out at my daughters and as I walked back I could see the flat was on fire.
“The curtains were closed but you could see flames at the window.”
Mr O’Brien, 37, added: “I ran upstairs and was banging on the door and then the smoke alarm started to go off.
“We didn’t know if anyone was in so were a bit panicked.”
Two fire engines from Forest Gate Fire Station attended the blaze at 10.30pm on Friday.
Firefighters were forced to break down the door of the second floor flat to rescue the woman, who was lay unconscious on her sofa.
Fire crews were able to revive the woman at the scene before paramedics took her to Blackpool Victoria Hospital to be checked over.
Firefighters said a candle left unattended on the windowsill had set fire to the curtains, causing severe damage to the flat’s lounge.
Crew manager Andrew Jones, from Blackpool Fire Station, said: “When firefighters pitched a ladder up to the window of the flat they could see a woman unconscious on a sofa in the lounge.
“They broke in and rescued the woman who was revived at the scene.
“We think the fire was caused by a candle left unattended on a windowsill that set fire to the curtains.
“It’s important to highlight the danger of candles, especially leaving them unattended or near flammable items.
“This woman was very lucky.”
Neighbour Bill Hunter, 69, said: “It was lucky Marie saw it when she did, the woman is very lucky, that fire could have spread through the other flats.
“Fires can be very serious, in a block of flats like this and fire could really take off and spread through this whole community.
“My concern is other people’s safety and that we be mindful of safety and our neighbours.”
Friday’s fire is the second rescue at the flats in the last six months.
Firefighters were called to the same block on September 1, last year, after a fire broke out on a kitchen cooker in a flat.
Emergency crews had to force entry into a property and a woman was treated at the scene.
Ms Bardsley, who has lived in the block for six months, added: “It’s scary, no-one feels safe in the flats now.”
Ms Bardsley added: “We could smell the smoke in our flat and didn’t know if it was going to spread down here.
“My son was in so I was glad I came back and saw it when I did.
“We rang the fire brigade to be on the safe side because of last time.”