A WOMAN suffered smoke inhalation after a fire broke out in a nearby flat where a group of friends were smoking in the bedroom.

Firefighters from Southend were called to Wordsworth Close just before 5.30am this morning, Saturday.

A 23-year-old man, his two friends and two cats had all managed to get out of the flat before the crews arrived.

Kevin Colby, sub-officer at Southend, said they were fine, but a woman in her 50s, who lived across the hall, was taken to hospital as a precaution.

He said: “She had recently come out of hospital so the paramedics were a bit concerned and took her to Southend Hospital just to make sure she was ok.

“The fire itself was in the bedroom, the mattress was on fire and we believe smoking materials was the cause.”

A team of firefighters wore breathing apparatus to tackle the flames, which were put out just after 6am.

They also used a high pressure fan to clear the property of smoke before leaving the scene.