A mother who stopped a building fire in the early morning has told the Gazette how she felt cold thinking about what could have happened.

Sarah Dean was visiting her son and daughter-in-law in St Michael's Road on the night of November 30.

After watching a Christmas film with them, she went outside to smoke at about 1am.

"When we stepped out on to the landing, there was a really strong smell, like gas or burning rubber," said Sarah. "We couldn't see anything wrong, so we went outside and discussed it.

"I didn't want to call a false alarm because about 30 people were sleeping in the flats."

"When I got back upstairs, I said to my son: 'Look, I'm really not happy going to bed with this. I'm going to make the call.'"

Sarah says the fire engine arrived in under five minutes. When they arrived, the fire crew went around the flats, knocking on doors to check on people.

Sarah saw smoke in one of the flat's from the outside of the building, so she let the firefighters know.

"They knocked on the door and there was no answer, so we got out the way for them to knock the door down.

"Then the owner opened the door. It seemed he had fallen asleep after turning on a faulty grill."

The fire crew spoke to the homeowner, before getting ready to leave. Sarah said: "They were great, I couldn't thank them enough. I thanked them for coming, and they said 'No, thank you for calling, you've saved a few lives tonight.'

"That's when it hit me, it made me cold thinking about what could have happened."

Sarah says she has been personally thanked by some of the building's residents for making the call. "I had one mum message me online to thank me, and one lady gave a big bunch of flowers and a cuddle.

"All I did was make a phone call. I'm glad I did, it was fate I was there that night. I text my son every night now to make sure he's okay."

Hampshire Fire and Rescue service said: "We received a call at 2:46am to a building of flats on St Michael's Road, and one crew was dispatched.

"The alarm was caused by smoke from an electric grill, giving a strong smell of burning.

"The flat was aired and crews did 'safe and well' visits to neighbouring properties."