NEIGHBOURS rescued a disabled man when a fire broke out at his home in Eastbourne on Monday night.
One person climbed a ladder and helped the man to safety while other neighbours raised the alarm and called the fire brigade.
The blaze broke out in a bedroom at a flat in Clandon House, Wakehurst Road, just off Lottbridge Drove, shortly after 7pm.
Neighbours spotted plumes of smoke coming from a first floor bedroom window and three fire engines and the aerial ladder platform rushed to the scene.
Fire chiefs say the fire started in the bedroom due to a discarded cigarette, which had not been properly extinguished.
A spokesperson at East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said, “On discovering there was a fire in the bedroom and unable to escape via the corridor, which had filled with smoke, the occupants of the flat stuffed a damp towel along the bottom of the door of the room that they were in.
“A man dropping off his grandson immediately raised the alarm by contacting the fire service and broke all alarm call points. This enabled occupants of the block of flats to self-evacuate.
“Meanwhile, a member of public from the neighbourhood placed a ladder on the outside of the property and one of the trapped men was helped to safety.
When crews arrived they helped the second man down the ladder along with a dog.”
The neighbours have been praised for their actions but also a warning to smokers.
Watch Commander Kevin Sharpe said, “We would like to commend the passer by who raised the alarm which enabled everyone else to self-evacuate. We would remind smokers to extinguish any smoking materials or matches thoroughly before leaving them and, again, take this opportunity to emphasise the need for all householders to ensure they have at least one working smoke alarm in their properties.”
The occupants were checked over by paramedics but did not go to hospital.