A woman in her 50s was rescued from a Brighton flat fire after a passer-by spotted flames flickering in the window.
But fire crews wasted vital minutes struggling to get to the scene because cars were parked on both side of Park Crescent Terrace last night.
Neighbours feared the woman was dead when she was carried unconscious from her first floor home, but said she regained consciousness before being taken to hospital.
She is believed to be in a serious condition after breathing in smoke fumes for up to an hour before the blaze was spotted at 11.20pm on Wednesday, November 14. Fire crews said her legs have also been severely burnt.
Watch manager Richard Chamberlain said: "The cars delayed us getting to the scene – it should have taken us two minutes, it ended up taking about eight.
"We had to damage our fire appliance and two cars.
"It's frustrating because it stopped us getting into the building as quickly as we should have, every minute counts."
The fire is thought to have been started by a tealight.
See the latest news headlines from The Argus:
- WITH VIDEO: Beach hut destroyed by fire from handyman's dropped cigarette
- Brighton singer's X-Factor dreams dashed as her band is voted out
- Designer hosts art exhibit at his home in aid of lido restoration
- Girl’s life transformed by a trip to the optician
- Man marks milestone by helping hospice