BREAKING NEWS: Tragedy averted as sleeping woman rescued from flat fire

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A BLAZE at a Sheffield flat during which firefighters had to break in and rescue a sleeping woman ‘could have ended in tragedy’.

Neighbours have been praised for their role in alerting emergency services then assisting fire crews who evacuated the resident to safety when her flat was filled with choking smoke.

The occupant, a woman in her 30s, had fallen asleep leaving a pan unattended on the cooker, which had burst into flames in the early hours of this morning.

But the smoke alarm had been disconnected and the flat, at the Royal Exchange buildings, off Lady’s Bridge in Sheffield city centre.

Emergency services were only alerted by neighbours when it is believed they had just returned from a night out, at about 1.40am, and smelled burning.

The neighbours held open the communal door when firefighters arrived and showed them to the first floor flat, where a crew had to break down the door.

Watch manager Steve Womack, of Central Fire Station, said: “When we entered, there was a lot of smoke. We found a woman aged around 30 who was asleep. We couldn’t wake her and had to carry her out.

“She came round but refused to go to hospital and was treated at the scene by paramedics.”

Mr Womack said that the fire was restricted to the pan on the cooker, which was still burning when his crews arrived.

He added: “Smoke alarms save lives and everyone should make sure they have one which is working. In this particular case, the alarm had been disconnected and had the neighbours not returned when they did, the outcome could have been tragic.

“The flat was filling with smoke, which can quickly prove fatal.

“The neighbours did the right thing not only by dialling 999 but by opening the communal door for us and making sure we found the affected flat quickly.”