Dad rescues his elderly neighbours after a stray firework that he set off sparks bedroom blaze

Damage at the home in Palatine Road, Blackpool
Damage at the home in Palatine Road, Blackpool
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A Blackpool dad ran inside his neighbours' home to rescue them after a firework he set off sparked a blaze in their bedroom.

Alex O'Donnell said he didn't realise the errant rocket - lit from his front garden in Palatine Road, Blackpool - had done any damage until a passer-by began yelling about flames coming from the house next door.

Helped by another good Samaritan, the 50-year-old pulled the confused pensioners to safety after kicking their door down last night.

Speaking from his home earlier today, he said: "I wish I had gone to the park like I usually do, but it's always full of drunks so I said forget it."

The incident, one of 73 tackled across the county by firefighters on a busy Bonfire Night, has led to calls for people to stick to organised displays.

John Taylor from the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "Bonfires and fireworks have a hazardous element to them and it's always better to have a supervised display.

"Hopefully it will be safer, but ultimately there's something inherently hazardous about fireworks at any time."

Mr O'Donnell said he was lighting fireworks with his family when one shot off target at around 8pm.

"I thought it went round the back of the house, but it went into the window," he said. "We carried on lighting fireworks for three or four minutes until the guy went past.

"That's when I ran to the house and tried to get them out."

Mr O'Donnell, who lives with his partner Fiona, 40, and their four children, said glass and fire rained down on him and several other rescuers after the upstairs window 'blew out' as he was kicking the door.

It hit one woman in her 20s, whose clothes caught on fire, he said, though she is not believed to have been seriously hurt.

"As I was trying to put her out, she ran out the gate," Mr O'Donnell added. "I was shouting, 'Hold on, I'm trying to get it out'."

Both he and another man then helped the pair inside the home, thought to be in their 80s, and their dog, escape the fire.

They were checked over by paramedics, the fire service said, but not hurt.

Three fire engines and crews from Blackpool, Bispham, South Shore were all called out to the semi-detached house, where charred belongings were piled up in the driveway.

Firefighters wearing oxygen masks used a water jet to put out the fire, and a portable fan unit to get rid of the smoke, the service added.

The incident was being treated as an accident, police confirmed.

Mr O'Donnell, who has lived beside his neighbours for around a year, said he has now offered to pay for the damage caused.