A top-floor flat at a sheltered housing scheme for older people in Wigan filled with thick smoke after a cooker was left on.
Firefighters believe a reaching aid fell onto a hob which was still working at St Clements Court in Worsley Mesnes at around 3am on Thursday.
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There was no fire but the flat quickly became smoke-logged.
Fortunately the lady in the apartment managed to get out safely after the venue's smoke alarms went off.
There were no injuries as everyone in the block followed the scheme's policy to stay safe, although one man did decide to evacuate his property.
Fire crews from Wigan opened windows in the affected flat and were able to use the natural ventilation to clear all the smoke.
Firefighters said the incident in the early hours of the morning showed the importance of having working smoke alarms and of being very careful in the kitchen.
Watch manager Carl Gleaves said: "Fortunately the smoke alarms have done their job and we were able to get there and deal with it.
"Our other message is to make certain you switch off kitchen appliances."
Paramedics were called and gave the lady whose flat was smoke-logged a precautionary check-up.
Two fire engines from Wigan station attended and were there for around 45 minutes.