A FLAT was filled with acrid black smoke after a candle left burning on top of a TV caused a fire.
Firefighters were called to the three-storey block of flats off Samuel Street in Tyldesley at around 12.30am on Saturday.
They forced entrance to the property and found the first-floor flat heavily smoke-logged with an established blaze in the bedroom.
The woman who lived there had gone to another property and neighbours raised the alarm after smelling the smoke.
The choking black pall was so thick inside the flat that one person who attempted to force their way in to deal with the fire had to go to hospital suffering the effects of smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide fumes, but he was discharged and returned to his home later on.
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used a hose reel to extinguish the flames, which were confined to the corner of the bedroom where the TV was.
The crews believe the fire was started by a flame left unattended and are now warning residents not to leave candles or tealights burning.
Firefighters also reminded people of the importance of smoke alarms as the flat’s detectors had been taken down.
A spokesman from Atherton fire station said: “The fire had been burning for a while and plaster was coming off the walls, so it was quite well established.
“The message is not to put candles out anywhere and then leave them unattended.
“The flat owner has been extremely lucky because she had taken the smoke alarms down, which you should not do. They are your early warning system.
“The neighbours had not heard the alarms so it was relatively well developed by the time they smelled the smoke and alerted us.”
After putting out the flames the crews used a powerful fan to clear the smoke-logged flat.
The incident was attended by firefighters from Atherton, Leigh and Hindley fire stations and the operation lasted around an hour.