A family of four and their pet dog were trapped in a burning building when a blaze broke out in the night.
A fire started outside the front door to flats on Milton Close in Atherton at around 12.30am today.
The occupiers had tried to get out but got beaten back by the smokeDave Farrington, crew manager
Smoke rose up the stairs to the first-floor flat, blocking the escape route for the two adults and their children, aged around one and five.
Dave Farrington, crew manager at Atherton fire station, said: “The occupiers had tried to get out but got beaten back by the smoke.”
When firefighters arrived, the family was still in the flat, hanging out of a kitchen window.
Crews used a ladder to lead them out of the first-floor window and to safety.
Mr Farrington said: “They were all okay. We got the paramedics there and they checked them over.”
Fire engines from Atherton, Hindley and Bolton Central stations attended to tackle the blaze.
Mr Farrington said: “When we got there, there was quite an intensive fire. It was so intense it had burned through the front door of one of the flats.”
It was not clear whether there was anyone in the ground-floor flat, so crews had to go inside to check. Fortunately there was no-one there.
The cause of the fire is now being investigated by both the fire service and the police.
One line of enquiry is that it was started deliberately.
Mr Farrington praised the efforts of the firefighters who attended the incident.
He said: “They were all quite lucky, the people upstairs. But for the professionalism of the firefighters, this potentially could have been much worse.
“Our teams did well. Everyone worked really well.”