HEROIC neighbours saved the lives of a couple and their dog trapped in their home as a huge fire tore through the ground floor in the early hours.

The homeowners called 999 at 2.23am this morning to report the large blaze at their two-storey Bridgecote Lane home in Noak Bridge, Basildon.

A fire, which had started in the conservatory, had quickly spread through the open plan living area, blocking the couple's exit route and trapping them within minutes.


While firefighters made their way to the home, a neighbour used a ladder and rescued the couple and their dog from an upstairs window. 

Damage - the conservatory where the fire had startedDamage - the conservatory where the fire had started (Image: Essex Fire and Rescue Service)

Watch Manager Mark Blakebrough, Basildon Fire Station, said: "We are confident this would have been a very different incident if it wasn't for the smoke alarms.

"The quick actions of the neighbours and the fact the occupants were woken by their smoke alarms saved their lives. There is no excuse not to make sure you have smoke alarms and regularly test them - it's a matter of life and death. 

"Because of the amount of heat and smoke generated by the fire, the homeowners could not escape down the stairs because within minutes their exit route was blocked.

"This incident really does highlight the importance of talking about escape plans with your family as well as closing doors before going to bed."

Firefighters tackled the flames and extinguished the fire by 3am. The house has been left with severe fire and smoke damage.

The cause of the fire has been recorded as accidental, and thought to have started after a charging power pack plugged in behind a sofa caught alight. 

Watch Manager Blakebrough added: "We have so many things in our lives these days that need charging, but it's really important to do this when you're awake so you'll know much earlier if it does catch fire.

"Ideally you should also try to charge items without leaving them on anything like soft furnishings that can overheat more quickly, and never leave anything charging in an escape route."