A 64-year-old woman is in a critical condition in hospital after suffering serious smoke inhalation in a flat fire.

A block of flats in Progress Court, Braintree, was evacuated after a blaze broke out in the woman’s ground-floor home at 8.20am on Sunday.

Grandmother Mary Sharp, 54, who lives in neighbouring flats, raised the alarm after she saw smoke while walking her dog.

Her husband Ian Mizen-Sharp, 49, then dashed to the flats to make sure everyone got out of the building.

Former Notley High School pupil Aaron Sawyer, who lives above the fire-damaged flat, helped his elderly neighbour out of the building with assistance from Mr Mizen-Sharp.

Fire fighters then arrived and entered the burning flat with breathing apparatus on and carried the occupant to safety.

See the BWT for the full story.