A SMOKE alarm saved the life of a couple when a tumble dryer fire engulfed their kitchen this morning.

Firefighters from Southend were called to deal with the incident in Little Wakering Road, Barling at 3.50am.

Acting station officer Angus Neale, from Southend, said the couple were asleep when the 83-year-old man was woken by the sound of the alarm and went into the hallway to investigate having initially thought it was a fault.

When he smelled smoke, the pair then evacuated their bungalow through the front door.

Mr Neale said: "It is absolute proof that having a smoke alarm is a life saver."

He added the kitchen was completely fire damaged, while there was 30 per cent smoke damage to the rest of the property.