Dog turns on microwave, sets off kitchen fire in British home

"Clearly this is a very strange incident involving the man's dog, but it could still have been more serious," a fire official said.

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By Phil Helsel

A dog in Britain managed to turn on a microwave and start a kitchen fire while its owner was away, fire officials said.

The husky "inadvertently turned on the appliance," which caused a packet of bread rolls left in the microwave to burn and ignite Monday afternoon, the Essex County Fire & Rescue Service said in a statement.

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No one — neither the dog nor the owner of the two-story home, who was away — was injured in the fire in Stanford-Le-Hope, which is east of London, officials said.

"Clearly this is a very strange incident involving the man's dog, but it could still have been more serious," Geoff Wheal, Watch Manager at Corringham Fire Station, said in the statement.

When firefighters arrived, the kitchen was filled with smoke but the fire did not spread beyond the kitchen, the fire service said.

The homeowner but noticed smoke through a camera feed to his phone, according to the fire service.

"Our advice is to always keep your microwave clean and free of clutter or food and any packaging," Wheal said. "Animals or children can turn them on more easily than you might think — so please don't run the risk."

The National Fire Protection Association says that pets or wild animals play a part in around 750 home fires each year. It suggests that pets be kept away from stoves and countertops, because they can bump into or turn on cooking equipment, and also to keep them away from things like candles, lamps and space heaters.

The group is an international non-profit organization based in Quincy, Massachusetts.