A WOMAN who suffered nightmares about a blaze starting in her flat had to escape from the top floor of the building when it caught fire last week.

Robyn-Leigh Roberts was left with no choice but to leave her cowering cat behind and run through a completely smoke-filled stairwell from the third floor of the property on Whestone Lane in Birkenhead on Tuesday, June 22.

And the 22-year-old, who was in bed at the time, only discovered that the building was on fire when a neighbour called her, frantically telling her to get out, after the fire alarm failed to go off.

Speaking to the Globe, she said: “I could see whirls of smoke when I went into my living room, but it wasn’t until I opened my door and stepped into the communal area that I could see thick black smoke filling the stairs.

Wirral Globe: The ground floor fire door has only been fixed following an inspection by Mersey Fire & RescueThe ground floor fire door has only been fixed following an inspection by Mersey Fire & Rescue

“It was horrible. It was thick and stunk and you could just see it coming up the stairs. I didn’t know where the fire was but I just left everything and ran down the stairs. I couldn’t see a thing. There were no lights on.

“Because I’ve lived here for a while and the lights have hardly ever worked I think I just knew where the stairs were.

“It was just so scary. I haven’t slept for two days.”

The fire is understood to have started on the ground floor by bags of rubbish left in the communal area.

Robyn says that some residents had left bags there for a long time as the rear fire door had been broken for a period and was jammed shut.

Wirral Globe: The gas and electricity meter room doesn't even have a working light in it, forcing tenants to top-up in the darkThe gas and electricity meter room doesn't even have a working light in it, forcing tenants to top-up in the dark

The Globe visited the flats and found the communal areas to be in a diabolical condition.

The ground floor communal area, which still stank of smoke, was barely visible, so inadequate was the lighting.

The gas and electricity meter room had no working light, meaning residents need to use the torch on their smartphones to top up their meters in a pitch-black room.

The jammed fire door has now been fixed but only following demands made by fire inspectors who also called for new smoke alarms to be installed throughout the building within 24 hours of visiting the scene.

Robyn explained to the Globe how she had predicted that there would be a fire at the flats and how nightmares about it happening and constant worries about security issues had given her severe anxiety.

She said: "I never leave my flat. I'm paranoid that somebody is going to break in because it's not safe downstairs.

Wirral Globe: The flats on Whestone Lane, BirkenheadThe flats on Whestone Lane, Birkenhead

"I've been saying for over a year to my mum, I'm petrified of a fire. I just had a really strong feeling that it was going to happen."

The Whestone Lane tenant explained how people sleeping in the ground floor hall area was an ongoing problem, but this was just one of the issues she has to deal with.

We saw how Robyn's third floor flat has damp issues throughout, with a ring of mould running across the walls.

The window in her kitchen doesn't open and the one in her bedroom is never closed in case she can't get it open again.

The flat has holes in the roof and we were told that a mice and rats issue had led to an outbreak of fleas across the building.

Wirral Globe: Mould on the windows in Robyn's flatMould on the windows in Robyn's flat

Wirral Globe: The murky entrance to the communal gas and electricity meter roomThe murky entrance to the communal gas and electricity meter room

Robyn's intercom security system doesn't allow her to let visitors into the property.

Maintenance of the building is understood to be looked after by Inspired Property Management. The Globe approached them for comment but have not yet received a response

We also spoke to Countrywide, who manage the leasing of Robyn's property via Clive Watkin in Prenton.

A spokesperson for Countrywide, said: "Although we are not responsible for the management of the building, including the communal areas where the fire occurred, it has raised the possibility of a number of wider concerns which we are investigating.

"We take all complaints seriously and are working closely with those responsible for the communal areas and building conditions to resolve any issues, to ensure our tenants' safety and support our landlords with any wider issues."

A Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service spokesperson said: “We attended a fire at a property on Whetstone Lane, Tranmere, on Tuesday 22nd June.

"Two fire engines attended and crews extinguished a fire in a ground floor communal area of the property.

"A number of people were assessed at the scene by paramedics from North West Ambulance Service.

"Our Protection (Legislative Fire Safety) team also attended this incident and are working closely with the property manager following the incident to ensure the safety of those living in the building.”

A spokesperson for Wirral Council said: “Following a fire on Tuesday 22nd June at a private property on Whetstone Lane, Wirral Council housing officers attended with representatives from Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service to carry out an initial inspection.

“Certain works recommended by MFRS were undertaken immediately following the fire including the installation of additional smoke detectors and shortly afterwards the tenants were able to return to their homes.

“In light of concerns raised by residents about the accommodation the council has made arrangements to inspect all of the flats in the coming days to establish their current condition under housing legislation.

"Subject to what is found on this inspection, additional work may be required by the landlord/property owner. The managing agent for the property is co-operating fully with fire service and Wirral Council.”