Page last updated at 13:13 GMT, Tuesday, 20 May 2008 14:13 UK

Flat fire was caused by squirrels

Grey squirrel
It is not unusual for rodents to chew through cables, a fire spokesman said

A squirrel caused a fire at a flat in Northampton by chewing through electric cables in the roof of the property.

Two fire crews were called to the first-floor flat in Woolbeck Close, Kingsthorpe, on Monday night.

The roof was severely damaged by fire and there was light smoke damage to the flat. Firefighters tackled the blaze with breathing apparatus and a hose.

A fire spokesman said: "It is not unusual for rodents to do this. The likelihood is that the animal died."

The Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman continued: "This is not something that people expect to happen.

"It highlights the importance of domestic smoke alarms which give an early warning of a fire so a property can be evacuated.

"On this occasion it's believed the property was empty and that the smoke was seen by someone outside," he added.

Fire crews, who were alerted to the blaze at 2029 BST, left the property at 2116 BST.

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