FIREFIGHTERS spent two hours tackling a major house fire in Thatcham last night (Fri) in which three people had to be evacuated from the property.
A pet cat died in the blaze, which broke out at the house in Marsh Road at around 10pm.
The fire was thought to have started when a candle which was left unattended in an upstairs bedroom set alight to curtains.
Bob Mitchell, watch manager at Newbury Fire Station, said that the house had been "gutted" by the fire, adding that the house was was now "unhabitable".
He confirmed that three people escaped unhurt and were staying with friends, but that a pet cat died as a result of the fire.
Two fire crews from Newbury attended the scene and used hose reels to eventually extinguish the blaze.
Mr Mitchell warned people about the dangers of leaving candles unattended, advising people to be careful with holders, check fire alarms and not to put candles near anything which could set alight.