A PET cat was killed after an electronic cigarette sparked a ferocious house fire.
Crews from Hindley and Leigh were called to a semi-detached home in Edna Road, Leigh, shortly after 9.45pm on Saturday.
It is believed that the blaze, which spread from a bedroom to the loft, was sparked by an electronic cigarette which had been left plugged in.
Watch manager Ian Tattersall, from Leigh Fire Station, said: “A woman, her partner and three children - aged 13, nine and four - were outside when we got there and, luckily, didn’t need any treatment.
“Sadly the pet cat wasn’t so lucky and died in the fire.
“The woman was downstairs and heard a bang upstairs so went to see what was happening when she discovered the fire in the bedroom.
“Firefighters worked hard to tackle the fire - which spread to the loft - and we also stopped it from spreading to the house next door.
“If the fire had started in the middle of the night - when everyone was asleep - things could have been much worse as we don’t believe there were working smoke alarms in the house.”
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus tackled the fire using hose reels.
They also used a thermal imaging camera, to make sure the fire hadn’t spread to places they couldn’t see, and a fan to clear the house of smoke.
Fire service bosses have since issued a warning for people to keep a close eye on electrical items.
Councillor David Acton, chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “The family involved had a lucky escape with discovering the fire when they did, although their house is damaged from the fire and they have sadly lost their pet.
“Please can we remind people about taking extra care when it comes to their electrical items and not leaving them plugged in too long and making sure that wires, plugs and chargers are in good working order.
“Also, working smoke alarms can buy you valuable time if you have a fire at home.”
For information about keeping your electrical items safe visit: http://www.manchesterfire.gov.uk/fire_safety_advice/home_fire_safety/electrical_equipment.aspx. For a free Home Safety Check, that may include the fitting of smoke alarms call 0800 555815 or visit: http://www.manchesterfire.gov.uk/fire_safety_advice/smoke_alarms.aspx.