Kent Fire and Rescue Service was called to a home in Canterbury Road, Margate, after a wheelie bin caught alight and spread to a house.
Luckily, the family dog raised the alarm when smoke started to seep into the property and alerted its owners, who were able to safely leave the house before firefighters arrived.
Two fire engines attended and crews used a hose reel jet to extinguish the flames.
It’s believed the blaze was caused accidentally by discarded cigarette butts, which were still hot and set fire to the bin. The flames spread to a second bin and then to an electrical box on the side of the house.
When smoke began to fill the cupboard under the stairs, the vigilant pet started to bark before the smoke had even reached the smoke alarms, which sounded soon afterwards.
Jon Quinn, KFRS’ Assistant Director for Customer Safety and Engagement, said: Tobacco burns at very high temperatures – it’s designed to stay lit. This is why cigarettes can very quickly start a fire.
If you do smoke, don’t leave cigarettes, cigars or pipes unattended when lit, and when you put it out, make sure it is completely out. Always make sure to dispose of your cigarettes carefully and don’t place hot items in a bin.
Only use a proper, heavy ashtray that can’t easily tip over and is made of a material that won’t burn. It’s a good idea to put ashtrays outside before you go to bed, or when you go out.
Another tip is to avoid storing wheelie bins near windows and doors, as any fire in the bin could easily spread to your property.