The London Fire Brigade have issued a warning to people after part of a house was destroyed in New Cross this week.

The home was set alight because a chair was positioned too close to a halogen heater.

Two men were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and five dogs were rescued from the first-floor property.

The alarm was raised when a smoke alarm sounded prompting occupants to leave immediately.

A spokesman for the London Fire Brigade said: "If you use an electric heater this winter, never leave it unattended.

"It’s really important to ensure they are placed well away from clothes, duvets and other items that can catch fire if they get too close."

Around half of the ground floor was damaged by the fire which took almost two hours to get under control.

The fire brigade offered the following tips on how to use heaters safely:

  • Make sure heaters are well maintained and in good working order.
  • Don't take risks with old heaters – if it's electrical and getting older, get it tested by a qualified electrician or buy a new one.
  • Where appropriate, secure heaters against a wall to stop them falling over, or fit wall-mounted heaters.
  • Keep heaters well away from clothes, curtains and furniture and never use them for drying clothes.
  • Always sit at least one metre away from a heater as it could set light to your clothes or chair.