RESIDENTS living in a block of flats on the outskirts of Bolton town centre had to be evacuated this afternoon after a fire broke out.

Fire crews were called to Laurel Court in Haydock Street at about 2pm after a discarded cigarette set fire to the roof of a bin compound.

Smoke from the fire spread to a nearby communal area, leading to people living in the flats having to be evacuated.

No one was injured, although an elderly woman with pre-existing medical conditions was checked over by paramedics at the scene.

Firefighters from Bolton North and Bolton Central fire stations tackled the blaze for about an hour.

Mark Murphy, watch manager at Bolton Central, said: “It appeared as though someone had been smoking and discarded their cigarette out of the window. It landed in a gutter and that ignited the roof timbers.

“I would like to warn smokers to make sure their cigarettes are fully extinguished and placed in the appropriate containers.”