A MOTHER-OF-ONE said she was lucky to be alive after her five-year-old daughter set her own bedroom on fire.
Little Chantal Holden, a pupil at Woodnook Primary School, raised the alarm after igniting the curtains at her Nuttall Street home in Accrington late on Saturday morning.
Her mum, Donna Hurles, 30, was asleep in bed at the front of the house and Chantal was playing in her own bedroom at the rear of the terraced property.
Smoker Donna said: "I usually keep my lighters out of sight so Chantal can't reach them but she said she found it in my room. She must have got it out of my coat pocket.
"If she hadn't woken me up I dread to think what might have happened. We didn't have a smoke alarm so if Chantal went to hide because she was scared I might not have got out in time."
Chantal had initially set the curtains alight in her room but the flames quickly spread to her toys and wardrobe full of clothes. She dashed into the front bedroom to tell her mum what had happened.
The youngster told the Observer: "I said 'Mummy, my bedroom is on fire.' She said: 'Quick, get out, get out.' I don't know why I did it."
Donna said that the smoke was rapidly filling the first floor of the house so she grabbed her daughter and they dashed outside.
They went straight to the local newsagents to call for the Fire Brigade and the crew arrived shortly after, at 11.50am.
Donna said: "I could have slept through it. I am just so glad Chantal woke me up. She was crying and I was just in shock, I couldn't believe it."
A neighbour invited Donna in and gave her a cup of tea and a piece of toast and it was a couple of hours later when she returned to her home, which she has rented since January, to survey the damage.
The upstairs of the property was completely black and the contents of Chantal's bedroom were destroyed. They are now piled up in the back yard. Teddies, clothes and even Chantal's school uniform were totally destroyed as a result of the incident. The pair have since been forced to sleep downstairs.
Firefighters have now fitted a smoke alarm and given little Chantal an activity book and a DVD to watch, highlighting the importance of fire safety.
Chantal added: "I will tell my friends not to play with lighters or matches."
Donna said: "I am not annoyed with her, I think she realises what she did was wrong."