A newborn baby and six other people escaped a burning house after an early morning fire broke out today.

More than 20 firefighters battled a blaze for more than an hour in Coombefield Close, New Malden, after they were called just before 6am this morning.

The four-day-old baby, whose mother was visiting its grandmother, the landlord of the house, suffered smoke inhalation.

The fire is believed to have begun in an elderly tenant’s room after an old halogen heater fell over.

Lovish Jain, 30, a tenant in the house, said: “In the morning there was a lot of noise and then the landlady knocked on my door – first I could not understand.

"We had to wait outside for about 45 minutes and it was very chilly – I was in my shorts. Everyone is okay.”

Next door neighbour Quiteria Barros, 51, said: “I have lived here three and a half years and nothing like this has ever happened before. I heard someone knock violently on the door – it was my neighbour opposite. We organised the children and the guinea pigs and went to their house.

“I saw a lady who had her hand burnt. There was a baby and the mother was really scared. I was so worried about the people – we don’t know them well but we see everyone passing so I was worried.”

All seven people in the home suffered smoke inhalation and one woman suffered minor burns to her arm. They were all taken to hospital.

Damage to the semi-detached home is said to be mostly in an upstairs bedroom.

Watch manager Steve Preston, from New Malden fire station, said: “The house didn’t have a smoke alarm, so these people are incredibly lucky to have escaped.”

He also warned that halogen heaters should be placed away from furniture and somewhere where they cannot easily be knocked over.

Fire engines from New Malden, Sutton, and Surbiton fire stations all attended.