A woman and her two cats have been left homeless after candles started a fire in her bedroom.

Crews from Loughton, Epping and Woodford were called to the house in Crossfields, Loughton, at 8:46pm yesterday (Wednesday, November 27) after reports of a fire on the first floor.

When firefighters arrived, they were unsure whether anyone was inside the property and quickly began searching.

Although no-one was found inside the home, fire crew but soon spotted two unresponsive cats while tackling the blaze.

Station manager Steve Wintrip said: "The good news is that when firefighters first brought the cats outside they were able to revive them and they have made a full recovery.

"The crews worked incredibly hard in stressful conditions to stop the fire spreading and extinguished it before 10pm.

"We believe the fire was caused by a candle in the bedroom, which either caught alight to nearby materials or were knocked over by the cats.

"At this time of year people tend to use candles more, but it is so important to ensure they are never left unattended - always extinguish them when you leave the room."

The first floor has suffered significant fire damage and the house is no longer habitable.