An electrical fault in a bathroom caused a blaze which left a flat badly smoke-logged.
The fire started in the extractor fan of the ground-floor property at Cranberry Court in Ashton shortly before 3.10pm on Saturday.
The fan then crashed from the ceiling to the ground, hitting the toilet which was set ablaze along with a plastic storage unit.
By the time fire crews arrived the entire flat was full of thick smoke and there were also traces of it in the other three apartments in the building.
Fortunately the couple in the damaged flat were alerted by the smoke alarms and managed to evacuate the property along with all their neighbours.
Firefighters extinguished the flames, which were contained within the bathroom, and then used their large fan to blow all the smoke out of all four affected properties.
The entire incident, which was attended by three fire engines from Wigan and Leigh stations, lasted around 90 minutes.
Crew manager Mike Fairhurst from Wigan station said: "It was an accidental fire started due to an electrical fault in the extractor.
"The couple managed to get out safely and fortunately everyone was OK.
"There was a bit of smoke logging in the other three flats but we managed to ventilate them to sort that out."
The crews gave fire safety advice and made sure the detectors in all the flats were working before leaving.
The fire service says the incident demonstrates the importance of having working smoke alarms and urged residents to get theirs tested.
Free fire alarms can also be requested by ringing Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service on 0800 555 815.