A MAN woke up just in time to get out of his flat before it went up in flames.
The resident at Britannia House, on Hartlepool Marina, was awoken by popping and banging sounds, caused by an electrical fault which had sparked a fire in the electricity meter.
He woke up to see quickly spreading smoke in his home and immediately set off the fire alarms and alerted other residents in the block.
Firefighters managed to put the fire out but not before the blaze completely destroyed the living room and left the rest of the flat severely smoke damaged.
But fire officers praised the quick-thinking resident who got out of the flat straight away and alerted his neighbours of the danger.
The incident happened at around 1.30am yesterday.
Two appliances from Stranton Station and one from the Headland attended and despite the damage caused by the blaze, firefighters admitted it could have been a lot worse.
Watch manager Andy Hardy said: “The fire was caused by an electrical fault.
“The resident was asleep on the sofa at the time and the noise from the fire in the meter, popping and banging, woke him up.
“It’s lucky that it did wake him up.
“The flats do have working fire alarms so they would have gone off but the sound of the fire had woke him up before then, giving him the chance to quickly get out.
“He woke up and saw the smoke and set the fire alarms off straight away and managed to rescue himself and everyone else in the other flats, he did very well.”
Watch manager Hardy added: “Unfortunately the living room was completely destroyed and the flats are quite small so the rest of the flat was also quite severely smoke damaged.
“But although the flat was destroyed, the main thing is the man managed to rescue himself and his neighbours and nobody was injured.”
Firefighters from Stranton Station were called out on two other jobs earlier on Sunday night.
One appliance was called to Kingfisher Close, where fire officers received report of a tree fire.
It didn’t take them long to put the fire out, at around 8.30pm.
An hour later they were called to Brierton Lane in the town, to deal with a number of small grass and hedge fires.
Two appliances attended the scene just after 9.30pm and stayed until the fires were completely out.