Pets were killed in a Tunbridge Wells house fire ’caused by a heat lamp’

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Several animals died after a fire raged at a semi-detached house in Tunbridge Wells this evening (March 30).

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) crews responded to a fire at the property in Green Way shortly after 6.30pm. It is believed it was caused by a vivarium heat lamp, used by people who keep snakes and reptiles.

Three fire engines and around 13 firefighters rushed to the scene and were met with smoke billowing out of the property and the house well alight.

The occupants were out at the time.

The fire was put out just after 7pm before the property was ventilated to clear smoke and fumes.

However, a number of guinea pigs, a rabbit and tortoise didn’t survive the fire, which destroyed 80 per cent of the ground floor. The first floor of the house was also severely damaged by heat and smoke. Firefighters also cleared smoke from a neighbouring property.

The incident was reduced to two fire engines just before 7.30pm and crews continued damping down until close to 8pm.

A KFRS spokesman said: Two breathing apparatus teams went into the property and used hose reels to extinguish the blaze on the ground floor. Meanwhile, firefighters used a covering jet externally. A positive pressure ventilation fan was also used to fight the blaze.

“The residents were not at home when the fire broke out and the blaze is believed to have been caused by a vivarium heat lamp.”