Firefighters say working smoke alarms in a blazing Melton flat ‘saved lives’ after four people escaped from it on Saturday evening.
Crews from Melton and Oakham used a ladder to rescue one of the male occupants from a second floor window of the property, on Drummond Walk.
That person was then taken to hospital by staff from East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) suffering from smoke inhalation while three others were treated at the scene for similar symptoms.
A carelessly discarded cigarette is believed to have been the cause of the fire, which was reported at 8.07pm.
Watch commander Simon Lee, of Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, told the Melton Times: “There was extensive damage to the flat and smoke filled the stairwell.
“All bar one in the flat managed to evacuate and one occupant was rescued by ladder.
“Four people were assessed by EMAS for smoke inhalation, but only one required transportation to hospital as a precaution.
“We would advise all residents to ensure they have a working smoke alarm.
“These have again raised the alarm in this incident and undoubtedly saved lives.
“Residents should test smoke alarms every month to ensure they work.”
The fire service said it responded to several 999 calls about the blazing flat.
On arrival, crews found smoke issuing through three levels of the building and they used breathing apparatus and hose reels to extinguish the flames.
Everyone from the flat got out safely before firefighters arrived apart from one male casualty who was rescued using a nine-metre ladder.
The property sustained 50 per cent fire damage with the remainder of it damaged by heat and smoke.
Watch commander Lee said he advised all residents to plan their escape route in advance in the event of a fire happening.
He said: “Fires never happen when we would expect.
“Have your escape route planned should the alarm sound, get the family together, get out, call the fire service and stay out.
“If you are unable to evacuate, call the fire service and give exact details of where you are and stay on the phone, we will come and get you.
“We would also urge people to ensure smoking materials are fully extinguished when finished with, in an appropriate receptacle.
“Fire blankets can be purchased if someone you know has a habit of dropping lit cigarettes on or around soft furnishings.”