A FIRE broke out after the occupant of a Wimborne house knocked over some candles while distracted by cooking.

Smoke from the blaze severely damaged the semi-detached home and spread to the adjoining house.

Dorset Fire and Rescue service received several 999 calls about the blaze in Ethelbert Road.

Two fire engines from Wimborne were sent to the scene and firefighters found smoke issuing from the home. They requested back-up from a third fire engine from Poole.

Red Cross volunteers manning the fire and emergency support service vehicle from Springbourne fire station were also sent to offer shelter and support to the occupants of the house.

The fire service said the fire had been started by unattended candles. It said the occupier had been distracted by cooking and had knocked over the candles, which ignited bedding and a roller blind.

It said there were no batteries in the home’s smoke alarm.

A spokesman said: “It is vital that batteries are installed, changed once a year and smoke alarms are tested once a week.”

He said the service’s Test it Tuesday campaign was aimed at helping people remember to check their smoke alarms.

Dorset Fire and Rescue will be targeting the area, offering free home fire safety advice.