QUICK-thinking publicans who saved one of their regulars from a blaze have been praised by fire crews.
The rescue happened after arsonists set fire to a pile of rubbish outside the door of a disused optician's shop on High Street, Rishton, shortly after midnight on Saturday.
The blaze at La Eyes spread quickly, setting the front door of the flat above alight and filling it with smoke as the occupant slept.
Landlady and landlord of the nearby Walmsley Arms, Carol Knott and Alan Duckworth, were locking up their pub when they noticed smoke and flames pouring out into the street.
The couple, their friend John Ball and some employees ran outside and shouted warnings from the street after realising the resident was still inside.
The man, a friend of the couple and a regular at their pub, was woken by their shouting but could not escape as flames were covering his front door.
Miss Knott, 36, and her partner ran back to their premises for fire extinguishers and were able to put out some of the blaze.
She said: "The Fire Brigade was quick really but we were panicking so we used the fire extinguishers.
"The occupier had been asleep so he didn't known what was going on until we woke him up.
"I think he's still a bit in shock. There were a lot of us outside and it was a panic for us but to him it was just a shock. It's not nice having a fire below you."
Miss Knott added the man had thanked them for going out to help.
Fire Brigade watch manager Peter Fraser said that, had nobody raised the alarm, the outcome could have been much worse.
He said: "People might think it is a bit of fun to start a small rubbish fire but there can be serious consequences and in this case it could have cost somebody their life."
Paramedics attended the scene but the man was not taken to hospital. Firefighters have since fitted his home with a smoke alarm after discovering the battery was missing from his existing device.
Anyone who wants to get a smoke alarm fitted can contact Hyndburn Community Fire Station.
A police investigation has been launched into the blaze and anyone with information can contact Great Harwood Police on 884800.