A PENSIONER is in a critical condition in hospital after being rescued from her blazing home.
Firefighters broke down the door of the 85-year-old’s house in Lambley Crescent, Hebburn, and carried her to safety.
Neighbours dialled 999 after hearing an alarm and seeing smoke billowing from a downstairs window.
The woman suffered burns to her hands and feet in the blaze, and was also suffering from smoke inhalation.
She was given first aid at the scene before being taken to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary, where her condition was described as “critical, but stable”.
Police are investigating the cause of the fire, which happened shortly before 3.30am on Thursday, but say there appears to be no evidence it was malicious at this stage. The living room of the house was damaged in the blaze.
One neighbour, who raised the alarm, said: “We heard the smoke alarm and could smell it, so we came out to see what it was.
“When we came outside, all the front window was smashed and there was black smoke everywhere. We rang the fire brigade and ambulance, and went and got our two little boys out of our house.
“The fire brigade were here within minutes and she was taken to hospital. She’s a lovely lady, she’s always out and about, but tends to keep herself to herself.”
Station Manager Ian Cuskin said: “Crews forced entry into the property, where they discovered the occupant of the house, who was suffering from smoke inhalation and burns to her hands and feet.
“First aid was administered and she was taken to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.”
The property had been visited last year by firefighters carrying out home fire-risk assessments and working smoke alarms were fitted.
A Northumbria Police spkesman said: “Police were informed of a fire at an address in Lambley Crescent, Hebburn.
“A woman in her 80s was taken to hospital, where her condition is said to be stable, but critical.
“Investigators are carrying out inquiries into the cause of the fire, which is not yet known. At this stage it does not appear to have been started maliciously.
“As part of inquiries, police are asking anyone in the area who may have seen anything, in particular if they saw a woman in the area, to contact them.”
Police can be contacted on 101, ext 69191. Callers are asked to quote log number 330 of 20/3/14.