AN investigation is under way after flames and smoke were seen shooting out of the window and roof of a Nelson flat.

Smoke from the blaze, at the rear of Leeds Road, set off alarms at the nearby Fairmore Medical Practice, alerting the fire brigade around 7.50pm on Sunday.

Neighbours saw the tenant, a man believed to be in his mid-50s, escape from the first-floor property, and it is thought his two dogs also managed to escaped unharmed.

The man is believed to have been taken to the Royal Blackburn Hospital, where he was treated for smoke inhalation.

The flat was left uninhabitable.

Workmen were left with the job of removing a large amount of fire-damaged furniture, appliances and several bikes and spare wheels from the flat, which is accessible only via a spiral staircase.

One worker at the scene, who was working on behalf of the landlord and asked not to be named, said: “I think he was cooking on a camping stove when something happened.”

The flat is above a former hair salon, Pimm’s Parlour, and next to Taylor’s Chemists but neither the ground-floor of the premises or the neighbouring shop or flat were affected.

Dawid Pie, 34, of nearby Rutland Street, who filmed scenes of the fire raging inside the flat, said: “It was really dramatic – there were small explosions inside the flat as well.

“Flames were coming out of the window.

“I think the man inside must have been asleep but the fire brigade came very quickly and put the fire out.”

An investigation has been launched by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.