A man has his smoke alarm to thank for being alive this morning after his static caravan caught fire in the night.
Firefighters were called to Lizard Lane Caravan Park, in Whitburn, a 1.15am today following a report that a caravan was on fire.
The occupier had the presence of mind to remove gas the cannisters from the van before the fire could take hold.
Luckily, he managed to escape the property before crews from South Shields fire station arrived and spent an hour tackling the blaze.
Watch manager Kevin Williams said: "We were called to a caravan which was said to be well alight with possible gas cylinders involved, and, when we arrived it was well alight.
"There was nobody in the property. The occupier had managed to escape. The smoke alarm saved his life, if I'm completely honest.
"He had popped in the bedroom to check something and had dozed off. The smoke alarm has alerted him and he has woken to find the whole caravan full of smoke.
"He has managed to escape and he's had the forethought to move the Calor gas cannisters outside, which would have generated more problems for us."
Two fire fighters with breathing apparatus and two hose reels extinguished the fire, believed to be caused by a faulty log burner.
The occupier, who had only just moved into the caravan, was checked for smoke inhalation, but he was declared fit byparamedics and he stayed in a neighbour's caravan.
The caravan was completely destroyed.
Watch manager Williams added: "Fire spreads very quickly in these type of caravans. It's just just fortunate that this gentleman had a smoke alarm.
“We did supply and fit smoke alarms to a couple of caravans around the site.
"Unfortunately it was his birthday and I'm guessing he didn't have a great deal to celebrate."
A man living in a house overlooking the site said: "I just saw the two fire engines, a few cop cars and one or two ambulances. It was between 1am and 2am. That's all I know. The caravan is completely burnt out."