SCORES of sleeping residents had a lucky escape after a quick-thinking hero tackled an early morning fire in a stairwell.

The brave man, who was staying with a friend at Fern Court Flats, Connah’s Quay, was woken by a fire alarm on Friday and quickly sprung into action, putting out the ground-floor rubbish blaze using three fire extinguishers.

Resident Julie Davies described the terrifying moment she saw smoke outside her first-floor flat after being woken up by the fire alarm.

She has described the man, who did not want to be named, as a brave hero.

She said: “As soon as I opened the door the smoke was terrible, it was everywhere. It was shocking. The man was running getting fire extinguishers trying to put the fire out the best he could.

“We couldn’t see where we were going down the stairs. The bin bag and rubbish was well alight.

“He acted heroically and was brave.

“With the fire being at the bottom we would have had to jump from the balcony.

“The fire alarms were a godsend. We were all safe in the end, that was the main thing.”

Residents believe the fire in the three-storey Flintshire Council-owned building was started by a discarded cigarette just after 5am. However, fire chiefs believe it was started deliberately.

The man who fought the blaze is an asthma sufferer and was given oxygen by paramedics at the scene.

Joan Hilton, 64, said: “I was woken up by the fire alarm. I had a look and the smoke was coming up the stairs. I didn’t chance going down stairs.

”He was brave to put the fire out. It was a lucky escape.”

Graham Hewitt, 61, who is registered disabled and lives on the top floor of the adjoining building, said: “If the fire had spread I could not have got out. It was worrying. There is no way I could get out.”

A spokesman for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: ”We were called at 5.14am to a rubbish fire in a stairwell. The fire was out on arrival and was put out by residents.

“The cause of the fire was deliberate ignition.”

Nobody was available for comment at Flintshire County Council.