A house fire in Newcastle is believed to have started when a pet rabbit accidentally knocked over a halogen heater.
Two appliances from Newcastle were called to the incident in Chapel Street, Bignall End at 1.13pm yesterday, Sunday.
"People should never enter a smoke filled house. Do not place yourself in danger, leave it to the experts."
Mick Daniels, Assistant Area Commander
Four firefighters, confronted by thick black smoke, tackled the fire wearing breathing apparatus and using one hose reel jet.
Emergency services were alerted to the ground floor blaze by a neighbour who heard the property's two fitted smoke alarms activating. The neighbour then recruited the help of a passer-by to force entry to the property in a bid to tackle the fire.
Assistant Area Commander, Mick Daniel, said: "The fire caused severe damage to the living room while the rest of the property was badly damaged by smoke.
"Although it was a commendable act, people should never enter a smoke filled house. Do not place yourself in danger, leave it to the experts."
Mick added the occupant, who was out at the time, had left a portable heater switched on in the living room while a pet rabbit roamed free from his cage.
It is believed the rabbit knocked the heater over onto the carpet which ignited, spreading flames to a nearby chair. Unfortunately the pet rabbit died as a result of the fire.
"Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service would advise people to never leave any heat sources on when they go out and make sure pets are always kept safe and away from heat sources," added Mick.
Following the incident firefighters visited homes in the community to provide residents with information on home fire safety and raise awareness of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s FREE Home Fire Risk Check service.