A mother and daughter were taken to the hospital suffering from serious burns early yesterday after their fifth-floor apartment in Nea Smyrni, southern Athens, caught fire, authorities said. The fire broke out a few minutes into the New Year when a candle was knocked over and set alight nearby napkins in a blaze that quickly spread to the whole apartment, firefighters said. The mother, aged 66, and her 35-year-old daughter suffered the injuries when they tried to put out the blaze themselves. Neighbors, however, notified firefighters when they saw thick black smoke pouring out of the apartment. Authorities said that a police officer also suffered burns to his hands when he tried to help the two women, who own the apartment, extinguish the blaze before other help arrived. None of the other apartments in the building were damaged in the blaze. The extent of the burns suffered by the women was not clear.