A FAMILY has been made temporarily homeless after a blaze ripped through their bungalow.

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service’s control room team received calls about a fire in Brick House Road in Tolleshunt Major on Monday at 3.43am.

Three fire crews from Tiptree, Tollesbury and Witham were called out to tackle the blaze.

Firefighters who attended this incident were on-call firefighters.

Upon arrival, they said they found a blaze in the bungalow’s kitchen.

Watch manager Dave Farrent said it could have been much worse as there were no working smoke alarms anywhere in the house.

He said the family were lucky to escape.

He said: “There were no working smoke alarms so it was lucky that there was an old-style serving hatch between the kitchen and the room where some of the family were sleeping because the smoke woke one of them up.

"They did exactly the right thing at that point - they got their family out, stayed out and called 999.

"However, the incident really emphasises how important it is to have working smoke alarms in your home.

“If one of the occupants hadn't woken up, the fire would have been fully developed and we could have had a totally different outcome.

"If you haven't got working smoke alarms, spend 10 minutes today to buy some, or book a free home fire safety visit with our service by calling 0300 303 0088 or visiting essex-fire.gov.uk/book."

The fire was fully extinguished by 4.26am.

It is believed it was caused by a faulty fridge freezer.

Mr Farrant added: "I'd like to praise our crews who worked really hard to contain the fire to the kitchen.

"Sadly, it was a severe fire which caused considerable damage to the kitchen, as well as smoke damage to the living area, and has left the property temporarily uninhabitable."