A man died following a blaze in his flat despite the heroic efforts of a Sheffield Council worker to try and rescue him after he spotted smoke billowing from the building.
The victim, a man in his 50s, died following the incident on St Lawrence Road, Tinsley, at around 10.55am on Wednesday.
But Richard Edge, church warden at St Lawrence Church, said the blaze could have been far worse had it not been for the council worker who was inspecting gravestones in the church grounds when he saw the smoke.
Mr Edge said: "He noticed the smoke and he had got some keys to the flats so he went up and banged on the doors.
"He asked people to get out but the flat where the smoke was coming from there was no answer."
Mr Edge said the worker had to leave the building because of the smoke and called the fire service.
A large police cordon remained in place on St Lawrence Road, into the afternoon, with residents unable to access their homes.
Mr Edge added the church was opened for refreshments for those restricted by the cordon.
One resident, who lives in the block of flats but did not want to be named, said: "I was in my flat and packing my stuff because I'm moving out tomorrow and we saw the smoke come past the window.
"We could smell the smoke first and then we realised it was something more serious.
"We made our way downstairs and out and within a few minutes the fire brigade were here."
"We could see the fire and smoke coming from the flat. It's very sad."
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said crews were called to the second-floor flat from Parkway, Rotherham, Elm Lane and Barnsley.
In a statement, it added: "Upon arrival, crews wearing breathing apparatus entered the flats to tackle the fire which was located on the second floor of the building.
"There were no other casualties involved in the incident.
"A multi-agency investigation will take place to determine the cause of the fire."