A MAN pulled a burning mattress into the communal hallway of a block of flats before getting trapped in his flat.

Three fire crews were called to a blaze on the first floor of the block, in Nayland Drive, Clacton, at about 1.25am yesterday.

It started in a flat after a candle set alight to a mattress.

The resident then pulled the mattress into a lobby area before going back into the flat.

When firefighters arrived they said a woman and a child had already been lowered to safety through a window but the man, who had gone back into his flat, was trapped inside.

Firefighters pitched a ladder to the side of the building to rescue the man, while other crews tackled the blaze.

The man was taken to hospital for treatment after suffering burn to his hands.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said she was upset with her neighbour.

“I’m very angry about it,” she said. “He left me and my family trapped.

“I needed oxygen for smoke inhalation. We are lucky but it was scary to say the least.

“My partner had heard shouting and came to the door to be met by flames.

“I have a fire extinguisher in my flat and we tried to use it, but it was no use as the fire was too extreme.

“A firefighter then appeared at our window but he told us to stay put as they were dealing with it.”

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

After the fire was extinguished at about 2.22am the family were led to safety. They were allowed to return home at 4.30am.

The woman added: “My 12-year-old is in shock and was being sick.

“His bike was outside the door and was destroyed. He’s gutted.

“There’s not much damage inside my flat, just dirt and it was smoked out. The fire had almost reached our door.

“It could have bee a lot worse.”

Crew manager Samuel Mussett, from Clacton Fire Station, said: “Although the homeowner thought he was doing the right thing by moving the mattress out of his flat, he inadvertently moved the fire to the lobby area, not only burning his hands in the process but trapping himself and potentially three other flats.

“It’s easy to panic in the moment but the most important thing to remember is to get out, stay out and call 999.”

Paul Honeywood, Tendring Council's Cabinet Member for Housing, said residents should always follow fire safety advice.

“The fire brigade message for any particular property should be adhered to, and communal areas in any property – council or privately owned – should be kept clear as they are evacuation routes,” he said.

“Our Housing team will work with any tenants affected by this fire to ensure they have suitable accommodation, and are carrying out works to ensure the building remains safe.

“Fortunately nobody needs re-housing as a result of this incident.”