A fire chief said that a woman from Brighton owed her life to having a smoke alarm.
Crew Commander Tony Bush spoke after dealing with the fire at a flat in Tudor Close, Rottingdean, in the early hours of this morning (Tuesday 8 January).
Two fire engines from Roedean and Preston Circus fire stations were sent to tackle the blaze after a 999 call just before 2.30am.
East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service described the blaze as a rapidly developing fire.
Crew Commander Bush said: “I went into the kitchen but the smoke was so acrid that I committed two firefighters wearing breathing apparatus and we ran a hose reel 60 metres from the road in preparation.
“Another BA crew was dispatched to the other flats within the vicinity to check on the occupants who we kept calm as firefighters were able to reassure them.
“The fire was caused by electrical cabling behind some base units in the kitchen area.
“We thought that we had knocked back the fire using carbon dioxide canisters but it then developed quite rapidly behind the units and reached up to the ceiling.
“There’s no question in my mind that the woman was saved by her smoke alarm as she was asleep at the time and it woke her up.
“If we hadn’t intervened, this would have been a fully developed fire within 15 minutes.
“In my opinion, if there had not been a working smoke alarm in this property we would almost certainly be looking at a very serious incident.
“May I take this opportunity to remind people to check their smoke alarms on a weekly basis and never be tempted to remove the batteries even for just a short period of time.
“This woman owes her safety to her working smoke detection system.
“Also, if an occupant in the premises is in doubt of the standard of the electrical installations get them checked by a qualified electrician.”