STUDENTS have spoken of their dramatic and terrifying escapes from the the Cube accommodation block after the building erupted in flames on Friday night.

The apartment building in Bradshawgate was engulfed by a major and devastating fire which has left many of the resident students with no where to live and without any belongings.

One of those in the block at the time was Joshua Cox, who was visiting friends to celebrate his 22nd birthday.

Shortly before the fire broke out, Joshua and his friends had been playing cards and listening to music while enjoying a few drinks when they heard someone outside screaming that there was a fire.

But believing it just to be student hijinx the friends dismissed the palaver and got back to their card game.

A few moments later there was a knock at their door from someone again warning them of the spreading flames.

After looking out from their door at the unfolding inferno the group then hurried down an emergency fire escape to safety.

Joshua said: "The fire was quite small at first but within five minutes it just exploded.

"As soon as we got down I heard a lot of crackling and it was just getting worse and worse and louder and louder. It was just one big orange blaze."

"It was very distressing and people have lost all their possessions," he added, but praised the University of Bolton's response saying it has been a "fantastic help".

Also in the Cube building at the time were couple Callum Taylor and Rafaela Nunes who had been relaxing in a first floor apartment when the smoke alarms started to go off for around 15 minutes.

Although they too thought nothing of this initial warning, as the accommodation's fire alarms "always go off", they said.

"I just thought it was a drill," Rafaela added. "Then we heard banging on the door and someone shouting. That was when we realised something was wrong.

"I went to check it out and saw big flames coming from one of the flats on the fourth floor. It was terrifying."

Thankfully Rafaela, aged 20, and 19-year-old second year student Callum we able to make it out into the back street at the rear of the building.

But some occupants of the building were not so lucky ­— at least not at first.

Alongside the dozens of students living in the block many also had furry friends to keep them company, including James Hitchen who lived with his pet hamster, Roger.

James had been in the kitchen of his apartment when the smoke alarm went off.

Again initially dismissing the warning alarm, the 18-year-old realised something was wrong when he began to smell burning.

After going to the door of his flat he was told there was a fire and began helping his flat mates escape from the building.

But in the hurry to get people evacuated from the block, James was unable to grab Roger.

Miraculously, Roger emerged unscathed from the fiery apartment after he was saved by fire crews. As was Jerry, another hamster who belongs to student Cade Walter. And both loveable rodents are now back with their owners.

James said: "The whole thing was quite shocking but everyone was so happy to get Roger back. We never thought we would see him again. We thought he was a goner."