A fire chief issued a stark warning over the dangers of using electric heaters after a couple were left “minutes” from death as a blaze ripped through their Bradford home.

Firefighters rescued a woman lying unconscious 4ft from the fire at her house on Virginia Terrace, Clayton, and used a ladder to save a man trapped in a smoke-logged first-floor bedroom as he was about to jump to escape the fumes.

Both were taken to the Bradford Royal Infirmary suffering smoke inhalation. Watch commander Michael Smith, of Fairweather Green fire station, said the cause of the blaze is under investigation, but it is believed it started after an electric heater was left next to a sofa. “Another minute or so and we would have been dealing with a couple of fatalities,” he said. “They were extremely lucky.”

Crews from Fairweather Green fire station were called to the property, which did not have smoke alarms fitted, at around 11.45pm on Saturday.

The fire started in the living room, where the woman was, but heat and smoke had spread through the house.

Mr Smith said: “The man was at a window and you could see smoke coming out over his head.

“The fact he was about to jump shows how serious it was.

“The woman was unconscious in the living room and had to be carried out by two firefighters. It would have been fatal if we hadn’t had both pumps from Fairweather Green.

“It was one of the most serious fires we have dealt with in a long time.”

In a separate incident earlier in the night at 9.10pm, firefighters from Fairweather Green were called to Sonning Road, Allerton, where an electric fire sparked a blaze at a home.

A woman in the property managed to pull the fire out before crews arrived, but was left suffering smoke inhalation and was taken to the Bradford Royal Infirmary for treatment.

Watch commander Smith added: “Both of these incidents involved electric heaters. If you are making your house cosy and warm, make sure you pull your heaters away from furniture.

“Think about your drinking habits and also things like your use of candles. These things may make your house seem nice and warm, but you need to think about the dangers and take precautions.”