AN INQUISITIVE dog who started a blaze when he became attracted by the light of a candle has still been praised by his owners for raising the alarm.

Huntingdon couple Jamie and Kelly Buck think 16-week-old pup Leon entered their bedroom after checking on Jamie's two-year-old daughter Morgain because he could see two tea-lights flickering inside, and tried to eat them.

Mr Buck, 21, had left the candles burning momentarily on a bedside cabinet in the middle of the room while he was downstairs with his wife.

The couple then heard a noise and German Shepherd Leon, came running downstairs, barking. When Mr Buck, went upstairs, he found the room alight. Flames had already spread from the cabinet to the curtains.

Mr Buck said: "All I saw were these flames. I shouted to Kelly "Get Morgain and get out of the house, there's a fire." I grabbed what I could to put the fire out.

"I used a pillow to put the fire out, but that also caught alight. I had to run downstairs to throw the pillow out of the window, and the stairs caught alight because bits were falling off the pillow. I put the fires out on the stairs with my hand."

Mr Buck sustained only slight burns to his arm, though two days later he was admitted to Hinchingbrooke Hospital suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The family estimate the blaze caused thousands of pounds worth of damage to the St John's Street property as the carpets, sofa and bedroom furniture will need to be replaced.

Mr and Mrs Buck have had to apply for an emergency grant to buy clothing. They have also been left with a bill totalling £700 for emergency bed and breakfast accommodation for themselves and kennels for Leon, who suffered burns to his mouth, and their 12-week-old dog Tia.

The couple, who are both unemployed, did not realise their home contents insurance had been cancelled following closure of a previous bank account.

But despite all the disruption they are keen to be reunited with their pets.

Mr Buck said: "Any dog can cause a fire. Leon ran downstairs and started barking - he knew that there was danger. We miss him so much. He is very protective of the family. I'm still thankful he goes upstairs and checks on Morgain.

"I lit the candle and went downstairs for 30 seconds. In 30 seconds you do not expect a fire to happen especially from two little tea-lights. We are never going to use candles again. Anything can happen.

"I would say to anyone do not light candles until you get in the room and make sure you do not leave them at a level of a dog or child."

A smoke detector fitted in the kitchen of the rented property and tested by Mr Buck on Saturday, was not working at the time of the fire on Wednesday, May 4.

Suspicions are an engineer who was worked on the house the day before may have tampered with it.

Mr Buck said: "I would test a smoke detector everyday. People say it saves lives. We tested ours on Saturday and it was working but by Wednesday it wasn't. You do not want to be sitting outside you house watching it go up in flames."