Residents were evacuated as dozens of firefighters were called to tackle a blaze at an empty hotel in Lonsdale Road, central Blackpool, overnight.
Married couple William and Carol Jarvis were taken from their home next door to the "disused" 10-bedroom guest house, the Langworthy Hotel, as crews worked for several hours to put out the flames.
"We only got back in this morning after 7am," Carole, 60, said. "We stayed at our friends down the street so it was better than sleeping on the street.
"We felt like two little refugees."
Six fire engines - two from Forest Gate near Stanley Park, one from South Shore, one from Bispham, one from Wesham, and one from St Annes - plus an aerial ladder platform from Morecambe, were called out at 5.24pm yesterday.
Firefighters wearing breathing masks used water jets to extinguish the flames, which was on the top floor or in the roof space, a spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said.
The last ones left at around 6am today, more than 12 hours later, after remaining at the scene to dampen down.
Nobody was hurt, but the building's roof has been badly damaged.
Leyton Curtis, 48, who is on holiday in the resort with his wife Jackie, is staying at a hotel opposite.
He said: "The scaffolding only went up at the beginning of the week. Then the skip turned up.
"We got back at about 9.30pm after doing the ghost walk and saw the blue flashing lights."
And Carol, who was in the Royal Army Veterinary Corps and is now retired, said: "The builders were up there yesterday putting on a new flat roof with felt.
"They went and then shortly after someone from down the road knocked on and said, 'Do you know next door's roof is on fire?'"
"William had taken Alfie out for a walk with his friend and I saw him down the street, he threw the lead to his mate and came running down the street to ring the fire brigade, but one was on its way already.
"I didn't really panic at first as I couldn't see how bad it was, and I'm just thankful it didn't spread further than it did.
"The firemen had to come through our property as there is a fire exit door that leads into the other hotels.
"The damage it has done next door is horrendous. Luckily it hasn't spread much into ours but I will have to throw away some bedding because it is smoke damaged."
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.