People are being warned to make sure their smoke alarms are working after a dog died in a house fire.
Firefighters were called to Coxcombe Walk, Bewbush, Crawley just before 9am today after smoke was seen coming from a window.
The fire, believed to be caused by an incense stick, broke out in a ground floor flat but smouldered undetected for some time as the property did not have a working fire alarm
A person in the flat had managed to escape just before a crew from Crawley fire station arrived and was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.
Firefighters went back into the flat to rescue a pet rabbit and the dog but the dog died at the scene.
The flat was left severely damaged by fire and smoke and is temporarily uninhabitable.
West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service incident commander, Paul Barber, said: “Sadly, a family have lost a beloved pet, but had the occupier's children been in at the time of the fire, the consequences could have been even more tragic.
“We urge people to make sure they have a working smoke alarm in their home. It is the only thing that can guarantee you that life-saving early warning to a developing fire.
"We also want to remind people to take extra care with candles and incense burners.
“Please make sure you place then in suitable holders and on stable, heatproof surface and only burn them when you are in the room."
For a free home fire safety check, call 0800 328 6487 or visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire.