A couple and a dog fled their Southend flat as an incense stick caused a fire in their home.

Crews were called to Lonsdale Road, Southend, at 1.08pm yesterday following reports that a ground floor flat was heavily smoke logged.

Firefighters worked to extinguish the fire and believe it was caused by an incense stick that caught a nearby suitcase alight.

The couple and their dog managed to escape the fire safely thanks to their working smoke alarms.

Watch manager Benjamin Manning from Southend Fire Station said: “Please make sure you have working smoke alarms at home, they'll give you an early warning to a fire in your home giving you and your family time to safely escape. 

“If you haven’t got working smoke alarms at home, we can fit them for free during a home safety visit. 

“Please remember when using incense sticks candles or wax melts to never leave them burning unattended. 

“With incense sticks, they need to be properly stubbed out.  It only takes an ember to catch nearby items alight.”