A WOMAN who escaped a house fire is ‘lucky to be alive’ after neighbours hammered on her front door to warn her.

The drama occurred at around 11am on Tuesday at a flat in Barsham Drive, Deane, when a pan left on the cooker caught fire.

Neighbours saw smoke pouring out of the kitchen window and some of them went to knock on the door and wake her before the fire service was called.

According to crew members from Bolton Central Fire Station, the occupant had been working nights and had put a pan on before falling asleep.

One of the neighbours who went over to hammer on the door when they saw the smoke said they were concerned for her safety.

The man, who did not wish to be named, said: “We just saw smoke coming out of the kitchen window. We did not know if she was in but some of us went over and started hammering on the door.

“We saw her poke her head out of the first-floor window but she did not come out until the fire brigade had arrived, even though there was some coming out of her window.

“The smoke was thick and black but it was not anything seriously big.”

He added that he was one of four people who had gone over to help her.

He said: “We were a bit concerned, of course. She is our neighbour. She tends to keep herself to herself. She doesn’t really talk to us or anything so we don’t really see her that often.

“We did not know whether somebody was up there but we were hammering on the door just in case she was in.

“She was lucky and I dread to think what would have happened if no-one had bothered or no-one had seen. It could have been a different story.

“She could have been overcome by the smoke and that would have been it.”

Ian Read, watch manager at Bolton Central, said three fire engines from the station were at the scene and were there for about half an hour.

He said: “The lady had been working nights, came home, put a pan on the cooker and fell asleep.”

No one was injured as a result of the fire, and the woman declined ambulance treatment.

Mr Read said: “We would advise anyone who works a night shift to avoid using the cooker when they come home, if possible.”

Firefighters are always encouraging residents to have a free Safe and Well check, which can include free smoke alarms being fitted. To book one, call 0800 555 815.