This article was reproduced with the kind permission
of the British Broadcasting Corporation
10 November 2007, 14:59 GMT
The blaze started early on Saturday in the ground floor bedroom of a terraced house on Garfield Road, Paignton.
Two Torbay community marshals employed by 4Front Securities saw the smoke and ran inside, banging on doors and even breaking some down to alert residents.
A spokesman for Paignton Fire Station said: "These people are very, very lucky to be alive."
He said: "It was a very serious and developed fire downstairs. These street marshals put their lives at risk to save these people in the property."
They had all left the building by the time fire crews arrived. No-one was reported to be injured.
Half of the house was damaged by fire and the remainder had heat and smoke damage.
The cause of fire, which took about four hours to extinguish, was believed to be accidental.
Five fire crews were called to the scene and firefighters searched the property until all residents were accounted for.
The street marshals were patrolling the area at the time as part of Torbay's Safer Communities initiative.