The owner of a Northern Quarter tower block hit by two fires in as many years has explained why fire alarms didn't sound until everyone was already outside after a blaze at the weekend.

Residents were alerted to the blaze in the Lighthouse on Joiner Street by a Tesco security guard who 'screamed at the top of his lungs' to wake people up until help arrived.

Several residents reported that they did not hear a fire alarm, and were awoken by people shouting and banging pots and pans at around 7.30am on Sunday morning.

The fire, which is believed to have started on a balcony on the fourth or fifth floor, is the second one to have broken out in recent years at the 20-storey Lighthouse building.

The flames on a balcony at the Lighthouse building on Joiner Street

In December 2017, a fierce blaze broke out in an open plan kitchen of a ninth floor apartment and spread to wooden balconies on several floors.

Following an inspection by the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS), it was concluded that the construction of the building met national regulation requirements.

Fire chiefs also said that fire alarm systems in the block were operational and activated when the fire broke out.

But several residents reported that they did not hear a fire alarm during the recent blaze on Sunday morning.

Fire crews appeared to be tackling a blaze on a balcony on the fourth or fifth floor of the tower block

Roger Walters, director at CapitalClimb who own the building, said alarms did not go off immediately because the smoke was outside the building.

"As the fire was outside, it did not set the alarm off", Mr Walters said.

"It wasn't until the fire brigade turned up and smashed the glass which then let the smoke through and set the alarm off.

"That's why the alarm did not go off immediately because there was no smoke inside the building.

"Everybody was already out by then thanks to the brilliant work of the Tesco security guard."

He said the building is 'very robust' and that fire marshals are on site 24 hours a day.

Residents at the Arndale after being evacuated

The cause of the blaze has not yet been confirmed by fire chiefs but Mr Walters said he believes a discarded cigarette may have caused it.

"It looks as though this might have started from a resident throwing a cigarette on the balcony", he said.

Fire chiefs warned that the consequences 'could have been grave' without the effort of firefighters and police officers who were able to evacuate the building and put out the blaze.

Around 60 people living in the apartments were evacuated to the Arndale Centre while firefighters tackled the blaze.

One resident, who lives opposite the Lighthouse building, said he was awoken at 7.30am to the sound of a Tesco worker shouting.

A fire broke out at the Lighthouse in December 2017

Speaking to the M.E.N, he said: "I woke up and saw the security guard from Tesco screaming at the top of his lungs.

"I have never seen someone scream so much in my life, it was pretty incredible. I was a bit shaken up at first but then I saw the fire.

"The security guard was shouting ‘wake up, get out the building’ for about ten minutes until the fire crews arrived.

"At first it was just smoke and we couldn’t really tell where it was coming from, then we noticed the fire on the balcony and it just got bigger and bigger.

"He definitely helped people. People in the building quite quickly started packing up their things and getting out of the building with their pets.

"If it wasn’t for him it could have gone completely unnoticed. It was outside at 7.30am on a Sunday - it could have been a lot worse."

An investigation into the fire in 2017 concluded that the construction of the building met national building regulation requirements

Three groups of residents, whose flats were badly damaged by smoke, were put up at the Supercity Aparthotel which shares the block with the Lighthouse.

Everyone else was able to return to the building as normal by Sunday afternoon and nobody is believed to have been injured in the fire.

Following the blaze in 2017, a 23-year-old man was taken to hospital after inhaling smoke and others were treated at the scene.

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The fire, which is believed to have started after food was left cooking unattended, spread to wooden balconies on several floors.

Investigators concluded that the building was safe and that cladding did not contribute to the blaze.

But Mr Walters said CapitalClimb were in the process of replacing the wooden balconies and the cladding on the building this month.

"Nothing needed to be changed in respect of the fire alarm system", he added.

"The cladding was not proven to be non-combustible. But we were in the midst of replacing it and all of the wooden balconies when the fire broke out."

Alexis Burton, chief executive officer at SuperCity Aparthotels, said that the building 'performed as it was meant to'.

She added: "We have done an internal report which concluded that everything happened as it was meant to.

"Our fire safety system is dictated to us by the fire brigade and is reviewed twice a year and I can't see it being updated again.

"Unfortunately, because it happened on a balcony the smoke might not have reached a detector. But if there is a fire on a particular floor, the alarm on the flat above and below will go off.

"The view is that by the time the fire brigade get there the residents will have been alerted."

Following the fire on Sunday, Tony Hunter, Assistant Chief Fire Officer and Director of Built Environment for GMFRS, said the fire 'could quite easily have had more serious consequences' as he praised firefighters and police officers.

"It is important to recognise that, but for the hard work of the emergency services, this morning’s outcome could have been grave", he added.

"We are currently investigating the cause of the fire, with initial indications suggesting it started on a residential balcony."