Firefighters have urged people not to ignore fire alarms from their neighbours’ houses after a blaze started by two dogs.

The curious pooches had managed to turn on the hob at the property in Crown Street, Dedham.

Once it was ignited, it set alight to a bin which had been placed on top of it in order to keep it away from the dogs.

Fortunately, there was not much in the bin that could set alight.

Fire crews from Colchester and Manningtree were called to the flat shortly before 7.40pm on Wednesday.

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

Watch manager Stephen Smith, who is based at Colchester Fire Station, said: “Although the smoke alarm had been sounding for some time the neighbour had assumed it was a false alarm.

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

“We always urge people to take note of their neighbours’s smoke alarm. If you hear it, give them a knock to check everything is OK.

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

Firefighters had to force 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.

Mr Smith warned everyone to keep the areas near the cooker clear of anything which might catch light.

He 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.