Pets caused two house fires in the space of a week, sparking a warning to owners by Cleveland Fire Brigade.
During the first, in Stockton, a rabbit chewed through the flex of a tumble drier, starting a small fire. In Middlesbrough, a dog jumped up and knocked on a cooker ring which ignited a bag of rubbish left on top of the hob. In both cases owners were alerted by smoke alarms, and no-one was hurt, but the dog had to be treated with oxygen.
Other incidents in the past year include a dog which knocked over a lit candle, which set fire to a mat. Another dog knocked over an ashtray containing lit cigarettes.
Phil Lancaster, of Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “Such calls are not unusual and we would urge all pet owners to be vigilant. Ensuring nothing flammable such as rubbish, paper, tea towels or clothing is left on or near the cooker can help prevent what could be a devastating or even tragic fire.”