A quick-thinking resident grabbed a garden hose to put out a fire which threatened residents in a block of flats.
Robert Peacock, 46, extinguished a burning mattress outside the door of his flat on Dinmore Avenue, Grange Park at 11.15pm on Monday.
The fire, which is believed to have been started deliberately, posed a ‘severe risk to life’ according to firefighters who attended the scene.
Mr Peacock said: “An older neighbour who lives across from me knocked gently on my door - luckily I heard him - and said there was a fire outside.
“I grabbed the hose from under my sink and ran outside.
“You can laugh about it afterwards but it was scary at the time because that’s the only door. There are nine flats in the building. Whoever has done this has got to think if the fire took and got even worse, that’s more than nine lives put at risk.”
The dad-of-two, who has lived at the flats for eight years, had to run past the fire in order to turn the hose on it.
He said: “There was so much smoke it was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe I actually managed to put it out.
“The flames were well over 10ft high and going up to the second floor. It has cracked all the glass in the windows which are now in danger of falling in.”
The fire is one of at least ‘half a dozen’ thought to have been started deliberately in the Grange Park area in the past year, say fire services.
Watch manager Warren Topp said: “We were called to a fire in the entrance of a three-storey block of flats.
“The fire started in a mattress that had been discarded adjacent to the final escape door and spread vertically up the building very quickly.
“Luckily one occupant was awake and was alerted when the fire cracked the external glazing of the building.
“He alerted the other occupants and grabbed a garden house to extinguish the fire while another quick-thinking occupant called the fire service.”
Mr Peacock, an engineer, says he believes the fire was started with petrol or turpentine, as the mattress was damp due to rain.
He said: “It’s not something young kids could do with a lighter or matches. The time it happened for me doesn’t say it was kids. I may be wrong but I think it was someone older.
“People’s lives were put at risk. If it was deliberate which I think it obviously was, it’s attempted murder.”
One resident, who lives on the second floor, said: “Everyone gathered in the downstairs part with the firefighters on the other side of the door.
“We don’t know what it was.
“I think it would be possible for it to be caused by arsonists.”