FIREFIGHTERS managed to save ten snakes and two chinchillas from harm after a fire started in an airing cupboard within a flat in Braintree.

Fire crews from Braintree and Coggeshall were called to Holden Close, Braintree, at 2.24pm this afternoon.

On arrival firefighters found that an airing cupboard in a third floor flat was alight and part of the property was smoke logged.

Station Officer Steve Wintrip said: “Incidents like this show exactly how important it is to have a working smoke alarm.

“The homeowner did everything right once she heard the alarm – she closed all internal doors to contain the fire, called 999 and then left her flat quickly and calmly.

“Our crews worked hard to make sure the fire was contained to the hallway and extinguished by 2:50pm.

"The hallway and a nearby bedroom were damaged by smoke, but using Positive Pressure Ventilation fans we were able to keep the 10 corn snakes and two chinchillas, which were being kept in the living room, free from harm.

“The cause of the fire has been recorded as accidental, due to an electrical fault in the airing cupboard.”

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