Cleveland Fire Brigade is issuing a warning to pet owners following a number of house fires started by their animals.
In the last week, firefighters were called out to two kitchen fires which were started accidentally by household pets.
On Wednesday evening in Stockton, a pet rabbit chewed through the flex of a tumble drier starting a small fire causing heat damage to the rear of the machine.
And in the early hours of Thursday morning, a dog in Middlesbrough jumped up knocking on a cooker ring which ignited a bag of rubbish that had been left on top of the hob.
Thankfully, the owners were alerted to the fires by their smoke alarms and were able to leave their homes uninjured. Firefighters rescued the dog which was given oxygen.
Since 1st April 2016 there have been five other similar incidents, including a dog which knocked over a lit candle which set fire to a mat and a dog which knocked over an ashtray containing incorrectly discarded cigarettes.
Phil Lancaster, Director of Community Protection for Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “Calls to house fires which have been started by pets are not unusual and we would urge all pet owners to be vigilant about where their animals are in the home.
“Taking simple precautions such as not letting animals near electrical appliances or candles and ensuring nothing flammable such as rubbish, paper, tea towels or clothing is left on or near the cooker can help prevent what could be a devastating or even tragic fire.
“These householders have been very lucky and it’s thanks to their working smoke alarms that they were alerted to the fires in time.
“We urge all residents to make sure they have smoke alarms fitted in their homes and test them weekly to check they are working correctly.”