TWO dogs have been rescued from a first floor flat after they accidently starting a fire in a kitchen.

Fire crews from Manningtree and Colchester were called to the property in Crown Street, Dedham, at around 7.38pm yesterday.

A neighbour had reported hearing the smoke alarm sounding for some time.

On arrival firefighters forced their way into the property as the homeowner was out at the time, and reported the kitchen was heavily smoke logged and there was a smouldering fire on the hob.

Crews then rescued two dogs from the kitchen and extinguished the fire by 8.10pm.

The cause has been recorded as accidental.

It started when the hob was turned on and set alight to a bin which had been placed on top of it – out of the way of the dogs.

Watch Manager Stephen Smith, Colchester Fire Station, said: “Always keep your cooker and hob area clear - even if you’re not intending to turn it on there’s always a chance it can get accidentally turned on.

“Thankfully in this case the contents of the bin was not particularly flammable, meaning the fire did not spread quickly, and instead turned into a slow smouldering fire.”

As the kitchen door was closed the smoke damage was contained to the kitchen.

Watch Manager Smith, added: “Although the smoke alarm had been sounding for some time the neighbour had assumed that it was a false alarm.

“It wasn’t until the neighbour went out, came back and realised the alarm was still going off that he called the fire service out.

“We always urge people to take note of their neighbour’s smoke alarm - if you hear it, give them a knock to check everything is ok.

“Smoke alarms can warn us, and others around us, of the first sign of fire and should always be taken seriously.”