A DOG breeder and his animals had a lucky escape after a fire broke out at their Farnworth home.

Fire crews were called to the property in Central Avenue at around 11.30am this morning after plumes of smoke were seen coming from the roof the semi-detached house.

Fire tore through the roof and loft, causing extensive damage.

However, when firefighters arrived at the scene they found that the man did not know that his property was on fire, as he did not have any smoke alarms.

Thankfully, after alerting him, firefighters were able to help the man and all his dogs to safety.

Mark Hoare, crew manager at Farnworth Fire Station, said: "When we got there we did not know where the fire was at first because of the amount of smoke billowing up.

"The owner was not even aware that his house was on fire. But everyone got out in time and he got all his dogs to safety.

"They were all fine and they had not taken in any smoke, which was really lucky."

On investigation crews found the fire had been sparked by solar panels on the man's roof.

This posed an additional problem as even after they had been disconnected they still retained residual electrical power generated by the sun.

Together with crews from Bolton Centre Fire Station, the firefighters battled back the flames and used an aerial platform to spray a special tar-like substance onto the panels to prevent them from catching fire.

Specialists from Electricity North West were also called in to provide advice and assist with the efforts.

Mr Hoare added: "The roof and the whole of the loft area of the house was very badly damaged, but we managed to stop the fire from spreading to the next-door house.

"It was a big job with the solar panels because you don't know if they are safe even if you isolate them."

Following the incident fire crews are urging residents to ensure they have working smoke alarms in their homes as they can give people extra time to escape fires and save lives.

To book a free safe and well visit from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service call 0800 555 815 or email contact@manchesterfire.gov.uk.