A UNIT block in Park Beach was evacuated after a fire broke out in an upstairs bedroom on Monday night.

Residents rushed from the San Francisco Ave unit block shortly before 9.30pm after hearing a woman's screams of fire.

Smoke filled the upstairs units as up to 100 residents watched from the street, some suffering smoke inhalation and struggling to breathe.

Police said the woman living in the unit, where the fire started, self evacuated and was not injured.

She was tended to by paramedics for smoke inhalation and shock and was comforted at the scene by friends but was not taken to hospital.  

Firefighters arrived on scene and quickly extinguished the flames finding the ceiling of the unit had collasped.

Coffs Harbour firefighter Warren Young said the fire started in the front bedroom of the upstairs unit.

"No one was injured and the tenants complied with police instructions not to return to their units due to health and safety concerns of electrical faults in the building," Firefighter Young said.

"Smoke filled the unit and the other two upper storey units were smoke logged.

"Our fire crews cleared the smoke with ventilation after the fire was extinguished.

Police continue to investigate the cause of the fire, but it is understood clothes left near a heater may have ignited.  

Residents from the building have been placed in temporary accommodation as insurers today inspect the damage.

Firefighters say the incident serves as a reminder for residents not to leave items close to heaters.

As cooler weather conditions prevail, households are urged to be particularly vigilant.

Last year house fires cost an estimated $1.9 billion in NSW.

Fire crews responded to 4193 house fires, 28.7% of which happened in winter.

A total of 616 injuries were reported and 18 lost their lives in house fires, statistics from insurance companies showed. 


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