SIXTEEN people had to be rescued by firefighters when a blaze broke out at a block of flats.
The fire started in the stairwell of the first floor of Windsor House, in Canal Walk, off Arundel Street, Landport.
An emergency call was put in at about 8.30pm on Saturday evening as the fire took hold.
Terrified residents raced to the roof of the building and leaned out of windows waiting to be rescued as the smoke started to fill the stairwell of the six-storey building.
The fire blocked several exits in the communal hallway.
Crews from Cosham and Southsea used breathing apparatus to enter the building and lead residents to safety.
The aerial ladder was used to rescue two people from the roof and one person was treated for smoke inhalation and taken to hospital.
Gary Elston, a spokesman for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: ‘On arrival Watch Manager Stephens and his crew were faced with a difficult multiple rescue and a fire to deal with.
‘Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus rescued residents, while other fire service personnel rescued people using an aerial ladder.
‘One person needed hospital treatment, but without the swift action of the crews, the number could have been considerably higher.’
Firefighters were at the scene for several hours.
The fire service and police are investigating the cause of the blaze.
Sixteen residents have been taken to a Salvation Army rest centre in Portsmouth.