A HOUSE had been badly damaged and an elderly couple suffered smoke inhalation after an electric blanket caught fire at a property in Grays.

Four fire crews, from Grays, Orsett and Corringham, were called to Gordon Road last night at about 10pm.

The elderly couple at the property heard the smoke alarms going off but initially thought the noise was coming from the television.

It was not until they noticed smoke they realised it was time to get out of the house and they called 999.

On arrival, firefighters were met with a large fire in the bedroom of the house.

It was quickly spreading to the neighbouring property and roof space of the couple's home.

Kevin Hercock, watch manager at Orsett Fire Station, said: "We could see the smoke from a mile and a half away from the property and as we got closer there were large flames coming from the first floor.

"I can not praise our crews enough - their hard work and skill brought the fire under control and stopped it spreading any further - ultimately saving the neighbouring property from fire damage.

"Following an investigation we found the cause of the fire to be an electric blanket that was about 30 years old.

"I urge anyone using electric items to make sure they are in good working order and regularly tested if possible.

"It's also so important to check your surroundings if you hear an alarm - don't assume it's coming from the TV or someone else's property."

The electric blanket which started the fire is believed to be around 30-years-old.

Crews extinguished the fire within an hour and-a-half.

The bedroom has been completely destroyed and the couple suffered from smoke inhalation and were left in the care of the East of England Ambulance Service.