Firefighters put out a flat fire which killed a family’s ‘beloved’ pet dog.

A spokesman for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service (WSFRS) said firefighters were called to the scene in Coxcombe Walk, Bewbush, just before 9am today (Tuesday July 8).  The fire, which was believed to have been caused by an incense stick, ‘severely damaged’ the ground floor flat. An occupant had escaped before fire crew were at the scene and was treated for smoke inhalation. A team using breathing apparatus entered the property to rescue a pet dog and rabbit. Firefighters gave the dog oxygen therapy but it died at the scene. The crews used hose reels and a covering jet to put out the blaze.

The flat was left temporarily uninhabitable.The occupiers received support from Red Cross Fire and Emergency Support Service volunteers.The property had no working smoke alarm and the fire was believed to have smouldered undetected for some time. The Crawley crew which was first on the scene arrived within five minutes of the 999 alarm being raised. Paul Barber, incident commander, said: “Sadly, a family have lost a beloved pet, but had the occupier’s children been in at the time of the fire, the consequences could have been even more tragic.

“We urge people to make sure they have a working smoke alarm in their home.

“It is the only thing that can guarantee you that life-saving early warning to a developing fire.”

Mr Barber added: “We also want to remind people to take extra care with candles and incense burners. Please make sure you place then in suitable holders and on stable, heatproof surface and only burn them when you are in the room.

A fire risk assessment should have been completed on the block which should have helped identify the lack of a working smoke alarm and appropriate action taken to ensure that this was rectified. For further information on fire risk assessment call us on 0207 478 7347 or use our online contact form.