A FAMILY have ended up in hospital while a second family have escaped unharmed thanks to their smoke alarm after both suffered house fires less than 12 hours apart.

A man, woman and child were rushed to hospital suffering burns and smoke inhalation after noticing smoke and discovering a fire in their bedroom at the St John's Street property, Huntingdon, at 9.30pm yesterday.

The fire is believed to have started when their pet dog knocked over a burning candle. There was no smoke alarm in the home.

The man suffered burns to his chest attempting to put out the flames. The woman and child suffered smoke inhalation. All three were "lucky to be alive," a Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said.

He continued: "We would urge others to ensure that they have a working smoke alarm fitted in their home to ensure that they have an early warning to a fire and can escape easily and quickly.

"Never attempt to tackle a fire yourself. Buildings and furniture can be replaced, your life cannot."

Crews returned to their fire station by 11pm after fitting smoke alarms at the property and also at neighbouring homes.

In the early hours of this morning, a family in Kimbolton had to evacuate their Newtown Lane home because of a kitchen fire caused by unattended cooking.

They were alerted by a working smoke alarm and closed the door to ensure the flames did not spread.

A service spokesman said: "Never leave cooking unattended and ensure you have a working smoke alarm so that if a fire does occur, you are alerted to it quickly and are able to escape."