A MUM-OF-THREE from Poole has told of her lucky escape after an e-cigarette charger started a fire in her home in the early hours.

Sage Pearce discovered her lounge full of smoke, and flames already at head height, at around 4am on Friday morning, as her children slept in the rooms above. She had been woken by her smoke alarm - having only changed the batteries the week before.

“It was a lucky escape,” she told the Echo.

“It doesn't bear thinking about what could have happened. I'd only changed the batteries in the smoke alarm last week. Without doubt that decision saved our lives.

“The fire officer told me that in another five minutes the roof would have gone up.”

Sage, 41, and her children Peter, seven, Coral 10 and 12-year-old Hollie were asleep their home in Tarrant Close in Canford Heath when the smoke alarm sounded.

Thinking it was her alarm going off she said she almost “rolled over and went back to sleep” before going to investigate. She found head high flames had already ignited the carpet, table and sofa and were licking at the curtains. With the adrenaline pumping and unable to reach the phone to call 999 she managed to put them out with a wet towel, before calling the fire service.

Station Manager Will Creighton, Fire Investigation Officer at this incident, said the family “had a really lucky escape.”

He added: “Her smoke alarms activated giving her the early warning to the fire. I believe this fire was caused by an e-cigarette charger left plugged in to a USB plug charger, without the lithium battery connected.

“I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to follow the manufacturer's instructions for e-cigarettes and only use charging implements that should be supplied with the device.

"The e-cigarette charger is not designed to be left plugged in without a lithium battery connected, so please avoid leaving them plugged in longer than necessary. We would always recommend that if you are charging any battery at home, make sure it is not left charging overnight. This could be the unfortunate consequences."