AN elderly woman was saved from a potentially fatal fire in her bedroom — by a passing aerial fitter.

Darren Schofield, aged 30, was returning from work to his parents’ home in Captain Fold Road, Little Hulton, when he heard a smoke alarm.

He realised the sound was coming from a house in the road and saw smoke seeping through an upstairs window where a curtain was on fire.

Mr Schofield got his ladders out of his van and climbed up to the window where he was able to pull the curtain out and throw it to the ground.

It is understood the blaze on Sunday, at about 2pm, was started by a discarded cigarette. Fire crews said the consequences of the fire could have been “far worse” but for Mr Schofield’s impromptu intervention.

Mr Schofield said he could not understand how the woman, named locally as Mary Holland, failed to hear the smoke alarm.

It is understood that Mrs Holland has carers looking after her.

Mr Schofield said: “I could hear the smoke alarm going off four doors down the street. I just put my ladders up and went to have a look, grabbed the curtain and threw it on the ground.

“The fire brigade then turned up and they pushed the door through. The next minute she came to the upstairs window. I don’t know where she had been.”

Mr Schofield works for Bees Aerials and Satellites and had been returning from a job with his brother, Anthony.

He said: “You don’t like to think what would have happened had the fire spread further in the house. The firefighters praised me when they found out and shook my hand, which was great.”

A fire service spokesman said: “The fire started in a bedroom and we believe it was due to smoking.

“A lady was rescued by fire service personnel and, as far as we could tell, she was fine.”

Farnworth crew manager Steve Green said: “It is right that this man should be praised and it is well-deserved as a significant portion of what was on fire had been removed when we got there. Their ladders were up when we arrived and those extra few minutes could have stopped the fire spreading further.”

Nobody was injured in the blaze and the elderly woman refused hospital treatment.