Page last updated at 10:49 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Blaze family saved by smoke alarm

A family of five who escaped from a blaze which gutted a house in Cornwall have been praised by the fire brigade.

Crews from Launceston and Callington were called to the blaze in Ridgegrove, Launceston at about 0315 GMT.

The two adults and three children escaped after being alerted by a smoke alarm. Three parrots and a dog were also rescued, but a pet hamster died.

A brigade spokesman said practising a fire escape plan just two weeks ago had helped save the family.

Dog singed

A neighbour called 999 after hearing the family's shouts for help.

Gary Chapman, the station manager at Launceston, said it was one of the most severe house fires he had ever seen.

The intensity of the fire singed the face of the family's pet dog.

It is believed the fire was caused by an electrical fault in the utility room which rapidly spread to the upstairs of the house through a boxed-in waste pipe.

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