A WOMAN ran screaming from her flat after waking to find it on fire.
She was inside her first-floor home when she woke up shortly before 10am yesterday to discover her TV was alight.
Painters and decorators working on the building in Victoria Road South say they saw black smoke pouring from an upstairs window and then the woman running out screaming.
Flames spread through the living room and caused severe smoke damage to the rest of the flat.
Southsea Orthodontic Practice – on the ground floor of the building – was evacuated while fire crews battled the blaze.
Mark Pascoe, who works for Drayton Decor, was painting the outside of the dental surgery when the fire started.
He said: ‘This woman ran out screaming and in tears, but I thought “what if there’s another person trapped in there?”.
‘It was stupid but I had to stop myself running in and making sure no-one was in danger.
‘Then the firefighters turned up and smashed the windows to release some of the pressure. It all happened so fast.’
The woman in the flat was treated for inhaling smoke by paramedics.
She did not have to be taken to hospital and no-one else was injured in the fire.
Decorator Dave Gobel said his team was just finishing work on a major refurbishment of the orthodontic practice, so it was lucky the fire didn’t spread.
‘We saw the smoke and that’s when we realised what was happening,’ he said.
‘I feel bad for the dentists because they’ve just had a lot of work done, so this is the last thing they wanted.’
The road was closed from the junction of Elm Grove to where it meets Albert Road between 10am and 11am while firefighters dealt with the blaze.
Group manager Alan Murray said: ‘Our officers conducted a thorough search of the second and third floors until we established there was no-one else inside. Investigators are still trying to confirm that the television was definitely the cause of the fire.’
Orthodontist Dr Thomas Hartridge said the fire led to the cancellation of 10 appointments. But he said his practice did not suffer any damage and that it would definitely reopen today.
‘We have just had a big refurbishment, but this isn’t going to make a difference,’ he said.