An elderly woman had to be rescued after a cigarette she was smoking set fire to her home.

The 94-year-old woman was taken to Colchester General Hospital suffering smoke inhalation after the blaze started at her bungalow in Fullers Close, Kelvedon at 8pm today.

Firefighters said they got to her home, which is in sheltered accommodation, “just in the nick of time”.

They also issued her with a warning about the dangers of smoking in bed.

Station Officer and incident commander, Trevor Disley, said: "Crews made their way through dense smoke to find the casualty, who was in bed.

“They carried her out to safety down the internal staircase and she was conscious but very confused when we brought her out.

"Fortunately the smoke alarm went off and we were alerted by Careline.

“We got there just in the nick of time otherwise it could have been a very different story.

“The woman was left in the care of the ambulance service.

"It looks like the incident was triggered by a cigarette, so it serves as a real warning of the dangers of smoking in bed."

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus used two hose reels to tackle the fire.

It was put out by 9.16am, and afterwards crews ventilated the property.