updated 1/2/2008 10:38:31 AM ET 2008-01-02T15:38:31

From baggy knickers to the ultimate hotpants: Jenny Marsey's miraculous underwear saved the day by doubling as an emergency fire blanket when her kitchen caught alight.

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Son John Marsey and his cousin Darren Lines were frying bread in her kitchen Sunday when fire broke out and Lines grabbed the nearest thing from a pile of washing to put it out — his aunt's billowing, extra-large, powder blue underwear.

He doused it with water, tossed it over the fire and put out the flames, said a spokesman for the local Cleveland Fire Brigade, speaking anonymously in line with department policy.

Lines' swift thinking saved the kitchen of the home at Hartlepool, northeast England, but left Marsey's underwear slightly scorched.

"It could have been a lot worse," said Marsey. "My family could have been in hospital but the knickers saved the day. I'm just grateful to the boys."

The fire brigade spokesman said that the general principle — using a large, wet cloth to cover a grease fire — was a sound one. As for using underwear: "Clearly it depends on what size you are," he said, "but I don't want to go there."

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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