RESIDENTS in an Elland flats complex fled their homes after a midnight blaze.

Four fire engines were called to the converted terraced house in Langdale Street early yesterday to reports that people may be trapped.

Fire crews in breathing apparatus found the building heavily smoke-logged.

Smoke alarms went off and all the residents escaped unhurt.

Firefighters had to search the seven bedsits over three floors.

No fire was found inside the premises.

The smoke had come from a bin in a communal area outside.

It is believed some tea towels and letters had been set alight in the bin.

The fire had been smouldering for some time, causing smoke to seep into the building.

Watch commander Mick Pollard, of Elland Fire Station, said: “The smoke detectors worked to a degree and the residents were able to get out.

“When we got there we could see there was no raging fire but it was the smoke that was concerning us.

“We had to check all three storeys but it turned out the smoke, which was thick and acrid, was from the bin.

“We think it had been smouldering for a while.

“It was very distressing for the residents.”

Residents were out of their homes for an hour-and-a-half and firefighters were due to return later to offer fire safety advice in the local area.

The cause of the blaze is still officially under investigation.

It is believed there were no signs of a break-in.