A partially deaf man had a very lucky escape from his flat following a fire caused by smoking materials.

The 91-year-old fell asleep at his home in Quarry Rise, East Grinstead, while smoking and the cigarette ignited a tea towel on the table.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service sent a crew from East Grinstead who found the fire out on arrival but the flat smoke-logged at about 9pm yesterday.

The elderly man was not wearing his hearing aid and slept through the incident.

The man was led to safety by firefighters and given oxygen for smoke inhalation. He did not need hospital treatment.

Fire crews returned to the flat this morning and gave it a full home fire safety check and fitted a special vibrating deaf alarm.

A fire service spokesman said: “The smoke from the smouldering tea towel fortunately alerted the community alarm company that monitor the sheltered flat, to the fire.

“It does not take long for a fire to spread in the home as there are usually many combustible materials close together.”

For a free home fire safety check, call 0800 3286487.