A MAN was moments away from death after his bed caught fire as he slept.
Neighbours and two men passing by saw smoke and flames billowing from the upstairs window in a flat in Hope Carr Lane, Leigh at 10.15pm on Sunday, and called the emergency services.
Fire crews from Leigh and Atherton broke into the property and found the occupant, Mark Dastey, 42, overcome by smoke and semi-conscious on the upstairs landing.
Firefighters rescued him and gave him oxygen therapy outside. He was then taken to hospital.
Crew manager James Howard, of Leigh Fire Service, said: “The man had been drinking and was smoking in bed. He left the bedroom to do something else and the fire started.
“He is a very lucky man. He was within minutes of not making it – he was breathing and just conscious, but he made a remarkably quick recovery when we gave him oxygen.
“He had a smoke alarm, but the batteries had run out. The only reason he was saved was because people had seen the fire.”
Neighbour Philip Marsh, 49, was one of the first on the scene, and called the fire service. He said: “I saw smoke coming out of the window and flames inside, so I rang the fire service.
“The firefighters said if I had not phoned, within five or 10 minutes, he would have died.”
Mr Dastey was today still recovering in hospital and will need to find alternative accommodation when he is released.