A WOMAN was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation after a fire started by a lit cigarette gutted the bedroom of a first-floor flat.
Fire crews were called to the address on Warrington Road in Ashton after a neighbour alerted them to the blaze just after 10pm on Tuesday.
Firefighters from Wigan and Leigh stations wearing breathing apparatus put out the flames, which completely destroyed a bedroom in the flat, located above a shop in the middle of a terraced row.
Paramedics took the woman to Wigan Infirmary as a precaution but she was discharged in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Watch manager Tony Callaghan from Wigan fire station said: “This was an accidental fire but it had clearly been going for quite a while when we got there.
“There’s extensive damage and the whole property is smoke-logged.
“We’ve had to bring the ceiling down in the bedroom and the flames have burnt through some of the floorboards.”
Mr Callaghan said the fire service believes the woman was either in bed and left the cigarette burning or dropped it while it was lit.
The woman managed to leave the flat despite the property not having a working smoke alarm.
After extinguishing the flames the crews climbed into the joint roof space with the next-door property to check the fire had not spread. Mr Callaghan also warned residents about the dangers of smoking at home, especially after consuming alcohol.
He said: “We do not recommend anybody smokes when they have been drinking or is in bed, and make sure they use the proper receptacles to put cigarettes out.
“It is also important to have a working smoke alarm to give an early detection of any fire.”
Nina Nicholson, who co-owns a beauty studio on the ground floor with her husband Mike, narrowly avoided her business being seriously damaged by the flames.
Nina, 29, said: “It was a massive shock when I heard about it because this is my livelihood.
“We’re very fortunate to have come away unscathed, because there’s nothing left of the bedroom. It could have been a lot worse.
“We’re just thankful the girl upstairs is alright.”
For a free home safety check, ring the fire service on 0800 555 815.