A MUM told how a fire at her family’s home started in the smoke alarm.

Tracey Box-Smith, 31, lives in Outing Close, Southend with her partner, Peter, and their six children, aged five-months, five, seven, eight, nine and ten.

She believes the property’s old fuse board meant it didn’t trip. Fortunately her partner put out the flames before they spread.

Tracey told the Echo: “I’m a nervous wreck. The kids are terrified, they didn’t sleep at all that night.

“I dread to think what could’ve happened. The alarm is two metres from the front door where the stairs are – we wouldn’t have made it out.

“Estuary Housing weren’t open on a Sunday so I had to call out-of-hours who said there was nothing they can do until Monday morning, but we would have been left with no lighting so I had to re-wire the fuse board myself.

“The fuse board was wired with the wrong wire – it wasn’t even fuse wire. Because it’s an old fuse board, it didn’t trip.”

Tracey, whose ceiling has been left with a black scorch mark, told how the family’s pet dog initially warned them of a problem.

Tracey added: “My dog came upstairs and was walking up and down the hallway. She wouldn’t go downstairs so my partner got up and could hear that the smoke alarm was beeping so he went downstairs and heard it crackling.

“It was on fire and sparking so we turned the power off.”

Their four-bedroom home is managed by Estuary Housing Association.

A spokesman for Estuary Housing Association said the contractor confirmed only the lighting circuit was affected and undertook an inspection to ensure that the property was safe.

He added: “The circuit controlling the plug sockets was in full working order which meant that the family were able to plug in lamps to enable their home to be lit.

“Following a recent stock condition survey we identified that a rewire and a replacement consumer unit was required at this property.

“Unfortunately, we have been unable to contact the tenant to make arrangements to complete this work despite repeated attempts.

“We can confirm that the consumer unit is being replaced today and a full electrical check will be carried out.”

A spokesman for Essex Fire and Rescue Service, said: “As soon as the resident realised this was an electrical fire she disconnected the electricity supply, which was absolutely the right thing to do.”

“Smoke alarms are vital in alerting everyone to the first sign of fire – they are the number one way to protect your family from the risk of fire.

“It’s important to test them regularly and keep them free of dust –because of course, smoke alarms will only alert you to smoke if they are working.”