THE fire brigade has issued an urgent warning over the importance of smoke alarms after a family had a lucky escape from a house fire this morning (Friday, February 22.)

A nine-month old baby and 21-month-old toddler had to be taken to Darlington Memorial Hospital after a small fire broke out in the kitchen of their home in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, at around 2.30am.

The youngsters had escaped from the house on Walker Lane with their mother, who woke to discover the house was full of smoke.

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District manager Robin Turnbull, of County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue, said the fire had most likely been caused by something being placed on top of the cooker.

Highlighting how there had been no smoke alarm in the property, he added: “There is hard and tangible evidence that smoke alarms save lives.

“This fire was only small but it could have been a lot worse.”

Two crews from Newton Aycliffe attended the incident and quickly put out the fire.

A small dog was also rescued from the smoke-filled property and firefighters opened all of the windows to ventilate the house. The damage is estimated to be around £2,000.

The children suffered no injuries but were taken to hospital as a precaution.

A neighbour, who was woken by flashing lights and the sound of the fire engine pump, said the family had only moved into the property recently.

Immediately after the incident, firefighters conducted a home fire safety check with the family and fitted smoke alarms.

“Smoke alarms save lives and it is our aim to fit as many smoke alarms as possible,” said Mr Turnbull.

“We will be spending the whole weekend in the Walker Lane and Emerson Way area of Newton Aycliffe and I would urge any residents without smoke alarms to approach us so we can fit one for free.”

To organise a free home fire safety check call 0191-3324-222.