A MOTHER and her young daughter escaped uninjured after their St Leonards home caught fire.
The woman and the five-year-old girl were woken up by smoke enveloping their flat after a lit candle fell off the mantelpiece during the night.
Firefighters attended the blaze, which totally gutted the Hollington Park Road flat, at around 2am last Friday.
More than half a dozen residents in neighbouring flats, some of them elderly, had to be evacuated.
The mother and her daughter were taken to the Conquest Hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation, as well as a 92-year-old, and one man, who paramedics thought was suffering from a heart attack due to the shock.
One of the affected residents, who wished to remain anonymous, said a neighbour knocked on his door to tell him about the fire. As he went outside he was overcome by smoke.
He said: “I was choking and out of breath because of the smoke billowing in my face.
“I couldn’t see anything beyond the front door as I suspected I was having a heart attack.”
The owner of the flat, destroyed by the inferno, wished not to be named but said: “The mum and daughter were very lucky not to be injured or worse.
“The flat caught fire because of a candle after they fell asleep.”
Graham Geer, crew manager from Bohemia Road Fire Station, said: “This was a severe fire as it destroyed the lounge and the rest of the flat was left totally smoke-logged.
“There were no smoke detectors inside so they were lucky to get themselves out of the flat before we arrived on scene.”