FIREFIGHTERS put out a cooker fire which started after a bag of shopping had been left on top of it.
Crews from Peterlee and Seaham attended the address in Cotswolds Place, Peterlee, yesterday lunchtime after a smoke alarm went off.
There was nobody in the property at the time but a neighbour heard the alarm and called the brigade.
They had to force entry and quickly put out a small fire in the kitchen.
The cause was recorded as accidental and started after the electric hob had not been turned off fully.
A brigade spokesman said: “It is really important to have a good working smoke alarm.
“They give people valuable time to get out and, as in this case, even if there is no-one in, it can alert other people.”
The brigade used high pressure fans to clear the smoke from the property.