A man was rescued from the window of a burning building by firefighters using a ladder and a woman was taken to hospital after an early morning blaze.

The fire, which completely destroyed a first-floor flat in Hylands Road, Upper Walthamstow, took crews over two-and-a-half hours to get under control.

A spokesman for the London Fire Brigade said they believe it was caused by household items coming into contact with a cooker hob, which had accidentally been left on.

The fire smouldered for several hours after the occupant left the property and the smoke alarm was sounding for around three hours before the Brigade was called.

A woman was taken to hospital as a precaution and two men were evacuated from the block, one via a ladder and the other through an internal staircase.

Crew manager Steve Spence, who was at the scene, said: “There are two key lessons from this fire.

“Firstly, always check you have turned the hob off after cooking but secondly, don’t ignore a smoke alarm, especially if it’s sounded for some time.

“When crews arrived, the fire was punching out the back of the building.

“The fire had clearly been burning for quite some time as it had breached the fire door of the affected flat and there was smoke in the communal corridor.

“Properly fitted, maintained and closed fire doors are designed to contain a fire for minimum of 30 minutes, but the delay in calling 999 meant that smoke was eventually able to enter the hallway. The Brigade was finally called when a neighbour’s own smoke alarm sounded. ”

Part of the roof and part of the communal corridor was also damaged by fire.

The Brigade was called at around 1.30am and it was under control shortly after 4am.

Six fire engines and around 40 firefighters from Walthamstow, Woodford, Leyton, Leytonstone and Tottenham fire stations attended.