FIRE fighters prevented a major blaze at Robert Budd's Farnborough home - thanks to an electronic alert.

They arrived at his terraced house in Curly Bridge Close in double quick time after receiving a call via a 24-hour monitoring system.

With no-one at home, the crew burst into the smoke-filled property and rescued Mr Budd's three cockatiels and his dog.

They also prevented the blaze, which started in a cooker in the kitchen, from spreading to the rest of the property.

Father-of-two Mr Budd said later: "If it hadn't been for my alarm system I would have lost my home and everything in it.

"The fire crew was here within a couple of minutes. I've got smoke damage throughout the house, but it's a small price to pay."

He was on his way home from Yateley when the blaze started. A neighbour rang him on his mobile to warn him that his house was on fire.

Mr Budd, a part-time shop worker, had the ADT alarm, which also provides links to the police and his doctor, fitted about a year ago.

"I won it in a competition which, as it has turned out, was the best bit of luck I've ever had," he said.

The alarm system costs him in the region of £60-a-month which he now regards as money well spent.

One of the fire crew who attended the blaze said: "We arrived in the nick of time, or else it could have been an extremely nasty situation."

Rushmoor fire safety inspector Martin Walters said monitored alarms were becoming more popular and provided good protection, but they were beyond the range of most people's pockets.

He urged everyone to at least have battery-operated smoke detectors fitted in their homes.

"They are extremely efficient and even if no-one is at home they are usually loud enough to be heard by neighbours," said Mr Walters.