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FIREFIGHTERS were scrambled to Brentwood last night after a birthday celebration went up in smoke.
The blaze erupted when a match, which had been used to light birthday candles, was left on top of a stack of papers.
The home, in Kensington Way, suffered fire damage in the incident.
The Essex Fire Service was called at 4.07pm on Monday, September 16.
It sent two crews, from Brentwood and Billericay. The fire had broken out in a ground floor study.
A brigade spokesman said: “The homeowner had taken the lit cake out of the room, but unbeknown to them, the match was not completely extinguished and caught alight to the paper.
“The family heard their smoke alarm going off, but assumed it was smoke from the candles and silenced the alarm.
“It was only when they then went outside and saw flames through the window that they realised there was a fire.
“Attempting to smother the flames using a blanket, the fire began to spread to the curtains – so they left the room, closed the door and isolated the electricity.”
Firefighters managed to extinguish the blaze by 4.45pm. The study suffered fire damage and the rest of the home suffered smoke damage.
Watch manager Ben Turner, from Brentwood fire station, said: “We would never recommend tackling a fire yourself. It’s important to remember to immediately get out, stay out and call 999.
“Closing the door was absolutely the right thing to do. It contained the fire and meant most of the damage was contained to that room.
“If you’re using matches, ensure they are fully extinguished before disposing of them. Run them under a tap or place them in sand to be absolutely certain.
“And of course, never ignore your smoke alarm – it’s always best to have a quick check around the house, even if you think you know why it’s sounding.”