A householder has told of the dramatic moment a neighbour rescued a woman from her burning house.
A candle caught fire at 1am at the semi-detached property in Ibsley Grove, Bedhampton, yesterday.
Neighbours heard banging at around 12.45am but thought it was someone moving boxes.
Shortly afterwards they smelled smoke and looked out of their window to see their neighbour, a woman in her late 40s, calling out for help from her bedroom window.
Another neighbour grabbed a ladder and put it up to the window.
Phillip Strawn, who lives next door, said: ‘It was absolutely pouring.
‘The chap from up the road shouted at her to climb down but all she could think about was her cats and dogs and at first she refused to budge.
‘So he told her in no uncertain terms she had to get out and I did too.
‘She climbed down and eventually the dog came out of the house.
‘She was absolutely soaked.’
Paramedics treated the woman at the scene while firefighters from Havant tackled the blaze.
Mr Strawn and his wife Sandra took in their neighbour, who was cold, wet, and frightened, and she stayed with them for the night.
She is now believed to be staying with relatives because she is unable to return to her home because the cause of the blaze is still being investigated.
Firefighters had to break down the front door to get in and the damage could be seen in the front room which was badly damaged by water.
Police and the fire service’s arson task force arrived at the property later in the morning to try and identify exactly how the blaze started.
Martyn Elliott, green watch manager for Havant fire station, said: ‘A lady was rescued by a neighbour from the first floor of the house.
‘She was calling out to the neighbours and one of them got a ladder and helped her down.
‘We attended the house and had to break down the front door in order to extinguish the fire.’