Nine students escaped with their lives following a house fire in Bournemouth on Saturday morning.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue said the blaze was caused after a portable heater, which was left too close, caught fire to bedding.

Four fire crews from Redhill Park, Westbourne, Christchurch and Springbourne were called to the property in Bemister Road at just after 5.30am.

Volunteers from the British Red Cross emergency response team attended to support the displaced students, who are now being assisted by Bournemouth Borough Council to find alternative accommodation.

The Fire and Rescue Service is now reminding students to make sure that they have working smoke alarms in their accommodation.

“Fortunately, the student in the affected room woke up and started to raise the alarm, with the smoke alarm also activating. "As a result, all nine people in the house escaped safely. This incident is a sobering reminder about not leaving portable heaters on and close to flammable materials, such as bedding, but also proves the value of working smoke alarms. "Ideally, every property should have one on the ceiling of every level, and they should be tested regularly.”

Station Manager Stuart Granger

Other fire safety top tips for students are:

  • Never smoke in bed.

  • When you finish a cigarette, put it out completely – and make sure all cigarette ends are cold before emptying ashtrays into bins.

  • Don’t leave electrical appliances, such as mobile phones, laptops or e-cigarette chargers, charging overnight.

  • Never place your phone under your pillow while it is on charge.

  • Be careful not to leave portable appliances such as laptops on the bed or piles of laundry, as the heat from the battery can start a fire.

  • Don’t leave cooking unattended, and don’t cook when you have been drinking.

  • Check your furniture has the fire-resistant permanent label.

  • Be aware of where fire alarms are located and fire equipment is kept.

  • Be careful when using candles, tea lights and incense burners, and always extinguish before you leave the room or go to bed.

  • Keep escape routes clear – for example, don’t leave bikes blocking the hallway – and check which windows will open enough to allow an escape.

  • If you’re renting privately, your landlord must ensure that all gas appliances are checked once a year by a Gas Safe registered installer, and you must be shown the safety certificates.

For more fire safety advice, visit the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service website.