A smoke alarm alerted a family to a fire in their bathroom in the early hours of this morning.
Firefighters were called to a semi-detached house in Cotsford Park, Horden, at about 4am.
A spokesman for the County Durham and Darlington Fire Brigade said: “The fire was a small one which had started in a downstairs bathroom.
“When we arrived an adult woman and two children were outside the property.
“They had been alerted by a working smoke alarm.
“Incidents such as this demonstrate how important smoke alarms are - they do save lives.”
“The cause of the fire is being investigated, but is not being treated as suspicious.”