The family had to make the escape after a candle set light to a mattress in the property.
Essex Fire and Rescue Service were alerted to the incident at 1.24am today, 13th January, after one of the residents called 999.
He informed them of the mattress on fire, which he had pulled into the first floor lobby area of the two-storey block of flats on Nayland Drive.
When he went back into his flat, he reportedly became trapped by smoke and fire.
When fire crews arrived they reported a woman and child had already been lowered to safety through a window, but the male was still inside.
They quickly pitched a ladder to get the man to safety, while more firefighters extinguished the fire by 2.22am.
Crew Manager Samuel Mussett, Clacton Fire Station, said: "Although the homeowner thought he was doing the right thing by moving the mattress out of his flat, he inadvertently moved the fire to the lobby area, not only burning his hands in the process but trapping himself and potentially three other flats.
"It's easy to panic in the moment, but the most important thing to remember is if you discover a fire in your home: get out, stay out and call 999."
The lobby area has been badly damaged by fire, while the flat has suffered some smoke damage.
Two appliances from Clacton and one from Weeley were in attendance.