A PENSIONER is lucky to be alive after fire ripped through the upstairs of his house.
The 66-year-old had to crawl through the darkness of his smoke-logged home to reach safety yesterday.
The man is believed to have been smoking in bed and fallen asleep.
When he woke, the bed was engulfed in flames.
Two fire engines from Fareham fire station were called out at about 12.20am and were met by a fierce fire when they arrived at the terraced house in Hartlands Road, Fareham,
The man was outside but struggling to get his breath.
Ian Cambridge, watch manager at Fareham, said: ‘An old gentleman was smoking in bed and set fire to his bedroom.
‘He did not have any working smoke alarm and he was lucky to get out alive.
‘The fire took about half an hour to get under control.
‘The gentleman was outside the property when we arrived. His bedroom was well alight. It was quite intense. Somehow he had woken up and managed to crawl his way through the smoke. He was suffering from smoke inhalation.
‘He was very lucky. The upstairs was completely blacked out.’
The fire engulfed the bed and spread to other parts of the bedroom. The entire house was smoke-logged, so firefighters had to use fans initially to clear some of the smoke.
Police and paramedics were also called to the scene.
Paramedics gave the man oxygen and he was taken to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.
Mr Cambridge said: ‘It was not life-threatening. It was a precautionary check-up.’
He urged people to make sure they have a working smoke alarm and never to smoke in bed.
Firefighters were at the scene until about 2am as they cleared smoke from the house and carried out some investigations.
The fire was classed as having started accidentally.
Yesterday burnt-out furniture was strewn across the garden and the windows were boarded up.
A neighbour said he did not hear anything and had not seen anyone at the property for a long time.