A family has been left temporarily homeless after a candle, which set fire to bedroom curtains, was thrown out of a window and set their garden furniture alight.

Fire crews from Loughton and Waltham Abbey fire stations were called to a fire at a detached home in Connaught Avenue, Loughton, shortly after midnight on Sunday, February 21.

A candle which had been thrown out of a first floor window set fire to decking and the fire spread to the kitchen.

A fire service spokesperson said: "A candle had set light to net curtains in a bedroom. The occupant panicked and threw the candle out of the window and, very unluckily, it set fire to cushions on garden furniture.

"Unfortunately, the cushions were extremely flammable and the fire quickly took hold, breaking the kitchen window and spreading to the kitchen."

The family got out, stayed out and called 999.

The spokesperson said: "Thankfully, Loughton Fire Station is less than 500 metres from the house and crews were able to deal with the fire really quickly.

"The fire was completely accidental and really unfortunate but it does highlight the dangers of candles. If you are using candles, please make sure they are away from materials that might catch fire and make sure they are completely out when you leave the room or go to bed."

The fire was extinguished by 1.47am and crews used a fan to clear the smoke. The ground floor suffered smoke damage, the decking area was badly damaged and the bedroom window and fascias suffered heat damage.

The family has been left temporarily homeless while the damage is assessed.