A group of students have ‘’been made homeless’’ after an electrical fault started a fire in a bedroom on Christmas Eve.

Crews from the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service were called to a house in Wesley Avenue, Colchester, just after 1pm yesterday.

Residents had heard their smoke alarm going off and realised they could also smell smoke.  On arrival firefighters were faced with smoke pouring out of an upstairs window.

But after just 15 minutes, the brave firefighters had extinguished the blaze. Crew manager Darren Waite, from Colchester Fire Station, said: "Thankfully the residents were alerted to the first sign of fire in their home by their smoke alarm.

"They then did the right thing by getting out, staying out and calling 999.

"Our firefighters swiftly brought the fire under control and extinguished it within 15 minutes.

"This Christmas the easiest way to protect your family from fire is by ensuring you have a working smoke alarm and regularly testing it."

The fire damage in the bedroom and the smoke damage throughout the first floor has meant the house is no longer habitable.