A house fire was blamed on a wood burning stove which was left alight while everyone was out.

Firefighters from Dorchester were called to the house on Holloway Road after receiving reports of an alarm sounding and smoke pouring from a terraced house.

Fire crews entered the property they found a wood burning stove had been left lit when the occupier left the property on Sunday afternoon. It had caused the logs next to the stove to ignite.

Now Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) has issued a safety warning over unattended fires for residents wanting to keep warm during the colder months.

Station manager Simon Dennett said: “The occupiers of this property have had a lucky escape. In this case there was not much damage to the property, because the smoke alarm activated and alerted neighbours, but it could so easily have been a different story.

He added: “We continue to remind residents, especially as the weather turns colder, that if you light open fire or log burner please make sure it is fully extinguished before you leave them unattended. Please also think about what other flammable materials are around the fire or burner, such as logs or washing, as these could so easily catch light.”

Fire crews reached the house within four minutes of the first call and used hose reels and breathing apparatus to extinguish the fire.

More information about fire safety in the home can be found on the DWFRS website at dwfire.org.uk.

It also contains information on how to apply for a Safe and Well visit, where fire service staff can offer bespoke safety advice for the home as well as fitting free smoke alarms if appropriate.