A man fled from his Hawley home shouting for help as flames and smoke engulfed it, a neighbour has said.

The blaze ravaged a block of eight flats in Thornfield Green, taking hold around 2.53pm on Friday afternoon.

Two of the top floor flats suffered massive damage to their roofs, with the ground floor flats also being extensively damaged. The remaining four flats were also smoke damaged.

One neighbour who did not wish to be named, lives in the adjacent block and was at his desk when he heard a loud explosion shatter the normal tranquility of the close.

He said: "Almost immediately there was an acrid smell.

"I thought 'Christ, it's in the house' so I went to all the rooms and when I got to the lounge  I opened the window and this guy came billowing out of the front door of the flats opposite, with smoke everywhere, shouting call the fire brigade, which I did immediately.

"They were here very quickly."

Initially three fire engines arrived, but were soon joined by more.


"Five minutes later there were sirens all round the place and it was full of fire engines," he said.

He added: "It spread out the back and there was a dozen fire men out there tackling it, but it spread really quickly.

"There were lots of pops and bangs, it was really quite frightening.

"The front window frame of the flat blew out in its entirety, it just shot out."

Both blocks of flats were evacuated by the firemen as a precaution due their proximity to one another.

The emergency services on scene reported that no one was injured in the fire, but three people were in the block of flats when the fire broke out.

Fire investigators are still assessing the cause of the blaze but say it is not suspicious.

The eight flats are divided by a firewall, however all eight flats were evacuated due to being affected  by smoke.

Of those residents, some have been told they can return to their homes on Sunday evening, while others are still waiting to get home.