A fire which ripped through a flat has been described as “one of the most frightening things”.

A woman was rescued from the window of a second floor flat in Gardner Close, Wanstead, at 5pm on Saturday.

She was treated for smoke inhalation at the scene and the fire was under control by 6.10pm.

Sheila Jones, who lives in Gardner Close, saw the incident unfold.

She said: “There were so many firefighters there – I have never seen so many before. I saw them lifting her down from the window – it happened very quickly.”

One woman, who lives in the same block but wished to remain unnamed, said: “It was one of the most frightening things. I have never seen anything like it before.

“There were so many firefighters. I asked one of them what had happened and he said he thought it was a television set which had caught fire.

“The damage in there now is horrific and the smell is awful.

"I don't know the woman who lives there but it was really shocking."

The Guardian is awaiting confirmation from London Fire Brigade on the cause of the fire.