BRAVE have-a-go heroes rescued dozens of animals after a fire engulfed a house in Colchester.

Emergency services were called to an address on Cavendish Avenue on Wednesday afternoon after a fire broke out in a garage before spreading to surrounding properties.

But two passers-by, who saw smoke billowing from the house, entered the property and saved animals inside.

Colin Mann, 72, said he and another man climbed over a gate to open the back door to the property before rescuing dogs and cats who followed them out to safety whilst the fire service was being called.

He said: “I had been to a garden centre and I just came past in my car – I saw the smoke coming up and when I stopped the car, I could see all the flames.

“I said to another chap ‘There are dogs still in there’, and when we got through the gate, we could hear all the dogs barking and going berserk.

“At the front of the bungalow, there’s a six or seven feet fence, but thankfully the gate was undone.

“Luckily the side door was open. We opened the door and then all the smoke poured out and in we went.”

Mr Mann added the other gentleman who went into the property with him deserved high praise for his bravery.

“This other fella was brilliant," he said. "He went in and I followed him, and he disappeared in the smoke.

“We didn’t know if there were people in there. I went in shouting if anyone was in but all we could hear were the dogs going berserk.

“We got the dogs out and pushed them over the fence and into someone else’s garden [to get them to safety].”

Mr Mann said there were about nine or ten dogs which included a bulldog, rottweiler, Doberman, St Bernard called Tiny, and chihuahua who escaped the property after he and the other member of the public led them outside.

“Had it been any longer it could have been a lot worse,” Mr Mann added.

“The fumes and black smoke were just too much but the dogs followed us out.”