THE heroic actions of a quick-thinking neighbour helped rescue two children from a rampaging blaze in their Wigan home.
Engineer Dave Carter climbed a ladder to first floor bedrooms to help down the pair of youngsters, aged 14 and 16, who were trapped inside.
Four crews were required to douse the flames at the mid-terrace house in Whelley in the early hours of Monday morning.
And fire chiefs - who are preparing for a period of strike action tomorrow - issued a safety warning after discovering the blaze was one of two yesterday caused by unattended candles.
Mr Carter, 29, who lives two doors down to the house on Moore Street told the Evening Post he was woken up at just after 4am by shouting out on the street.
He said: “I thought it was drunks at first and was going to shout down to tell them to be quiet.
“But then I realised what was happening and saw some of the family on the street. The parents were shouting ‘help’ and for someone to call 999.”
Having borrowed a ladder from a neighbour across from his house, Mr Carter climbed to the windows as thick black smoke engulfed the house.
The father-of-one said: “I didn’t really see the flames but there was smoke everywhere. Everyone was panicking a little bit but I was only going 10ft up and the kids could get through the window.
“I just helped them down. It wasn’t like I went inside the house, I didn’t think I was risking my life.
“It was a lucky escape, no-one was seriously hurt and that’s the main thing. Although it looks like the house is in a bad state.”
The family of five and a 90-year-old neighbour were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene and were taken to Wigan Infirmary.
The fire capped a busy night for the borough’s fire crews as they were called out earlier to a blaze caused by an unattended tea light in the bedroom of an address on Upper St Stephen’s Street at 1.30am.
That house had a smoke alarm fitted and the occupant was safely evacuated with the house suffering minimal damage.
Watch manager Dave Scully of Wigan fire station said the blazes should come as a warning about the use of naked flames in the home.
He said: “With two fires both starting because of candles, we really need to get a message out.
“One didn’t have a smoke alarm - the fire on Moore Street that was caused by a candle in the living room - the other one did and there was a big difference in what happened.
“We are set to go on industrial action tomorrow so people will need to make sure they are extra careful, have working smoke alarms and an exit plan.”