Neighbours heard cries of “help me” during a fire at an address in the Greystone area of Antrim early on Friday, according to a local resident.
The PSNI said that a man was taken to hospital after a fire at a property in the town’s Donore Crescent at around 7.30am on Friday morning.
Detective Sergeant Lyttle said: “Officers attended the scene along with colleagues from the NI Fire and Rescue Service.
“A man in his 20s was taken to hospital for treatment by ambulance. Enquiries are continuing and there are no further details at this time.”
A spokesman for the Ambulance Service confirmed it had been responding to reports of a male having sustained burns.
They said that an emergency crew attended the incident, and after an initial assessment and treatment at the scene one patient was taken to hospital.
Former Antrim mayor Adrian Watson owns a taxi company in the town and said one of his drivers who lives near the flat heard the man screaming for help as he was leaving for work, the Belfast Telegraph reported.
He found the door of the man’s flat lying open and saw that he was “horrifically burned”. He knew not to touch him and called for the emergency services.
“He said the man was in a very bad state. He was in total agony,” Mr Watson said.
A local resident and mum-of-two told the Belfast Telegraph that she believed neighbours had responded to shouts, and said she was trying to shield her young children from what had happened.
“I’ve lived here for a number of years and it’s the first time anything like this has happened,” she said.
“I got a knock at the door at 8.30am from the police.
“I live here with my two kids – my wee man saw the police there and wondered what was going on. I haven’t told them.
“Neighbours heard him shouting ‘Help me’.
“Everyone is just shocked, wondering what was going on.
“There has never been anything this serious happening here.
“To have this happen just outside the door, when I have two young kids, is scary.”
And a woman with a vulnerable adult daughter said she was “horrified” at the incident and feared for her child’s safety.
She said: “The place was all cordoned off with police swarming all over the place and the fire brigade.
“Me and her brother are going to stay with my daughter tonight.
“My daughter is afraid to be on her own.
“It is worrying because you don’t know what’s going to happen next.
“There are a lot of families and this happened in the morning when people were getting up for work.
“It’s sad for his family, especially at this time of the year,” she said.
Another neighbour said she had awoken to a sea of “blue lights”.
“It’s terrible,” she said.
“I live here by myself with my dog but he didn’t start barking. It is so quiet, especially that wee corner.
“It’s crazy to have something like that happen on your doorstep.”