Bradford Fire Service issued a stark warning today after unattended candles were blamed for starting a fire which swept through a house, killing a dog.

As the picture shows, the home in Hawthorn Drive, Rodley Lane, Calverley, was gutted in the fire.

Three staff from the Olive Tree Greek restaurant near the house helped rescue the 65-year-old occupant from the blazing house.

"I was taking the bins out and I saw the smoke coming out of the house. When I got a bit closer I saw this old man shouting for help," said Ali Kurnaz, assistant manager of the Olive Tree.

Although the man managed to flee the fire he was trying to get back in to save his dogs, and Mr Kurnaz said they had to hold him back. "He was crying about his dogs, and about them being his life, so we felt that we should try our best to save them without getting into danger," he said.

"We broke down the door but we couldn't see anything, it was a serious fire and it could have blown up at any time because of the gas."

One of the two dogs was saved, and Mr Kurnaz and his colleagues were praised by the fire service for their actions.

Richard Hagger, Community Fire Safety officer, said that there has been an increase in fires caused by candles.

"People are using candles a lot more. The thing about it is that people are not using the proper holders," he said "As candles are being used more people are becoming complacent. They leave a burning candle unattended, or put them on top of television sets."

Mr Hagger issued an easy guide for the safe use of candles.

Never leave a lit candle unattended

Use correct candle holders

Make sure candles are properly extinguished at night

Close all doors before going to bed to stop fires spreading

Fit smoke alarms and test them weekly

Free home fire safety checks are available from any local fire station, or can be booked by telephoning the Community Fire Safety department on (01274) 750400.