A DOG was rescued by firefighters after a fire broke out at a block of council flats in Bournemouth.

Two crews were called to Mallard Road on Monday morning after a fire started in the lounge of a first floor flat.

All the residents of the block of 12 flats had to be evacuated.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus and with two hose reel jets went into the flat to put out the fire.

However, they found a dog, believed to be a Staffordshire bull terrier, hiding in a cupboard.

The dog was rescued and collected by the RSPCA, who took it to a local vet as the owner was not at home when the fire broke out.

A spokesperson for Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service said the cause of the fire was being investigated.

Lorraine Mealings, deputy director of housing and head of customer for Bournemouth council, said: "We can confirm that there was a fire at a block of 12 council-owned flats on 82 Mallard Road in Bournemouth.

"All flats were immediately evacuated at the time for safety reasons. All but one household has now been able to return to the premises. The residents of the flat where the fire originated have been unable to return due to fire damage, and the council has temporarily rehoused them elsewhere.

"Our housing team has been on site today and will be liaising closely with the Fire Service to help establish the cause of the fire.’’