The family were saved by a neighbour coming home from a night out. He heard screams coming from the property and realised people were trapped.
Doors which would have provided an escape route were locked and the keys were downstairs out of reach.
The man smashed a small window with a shovel, entered the property and rescued the whole family, a mother and five children.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service was called at 2.18am and two fire engines were sent to the scene. Fire crews entered the building wearing breathing apparatus and tackled a fire in the ground floor open plan kitchen using a hose reel. They also rescued the family’s dog.
The family, and the man who saved them, were taken to hospital suffering from the effects of breathing in smoke. The dog was uninjured.
The fire is believed to have started in the electric cooker, which may have been left on accidentally.
Around half of the kitchen was destroyed by fire and the rest of the house was smoke damaged.
Mr Ward added: “It seems that although there was a smoke alarm fitted on the ground floor, it didn’t activate and it appears the batteries may not have been inserted fully. Our advice to residents would be to ensure that you have working smoke alarms fitted on each floor of your home and to test them regularly to ensure they will provide early warning to a fire.”
He continued: “In addition, it is advisable to keep keys to windows and doors in a safe place where you can reach them quickly, should you need to get out in an emergency.”