A ferocious fire which ripped through the ground floor of a house in the early hours of this morning left a man trapped in an upstairs bedroom.

A dramatic rescue took place when firefighters from Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service, along with colleagues from Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, were called to a detached house near Sherborne at 4am.

Firefighters described the blaze as 'extremely intense' and said there could've been a 'very tragic outcome' had a fire alarm not sounded.

Two crews from Sherborne, two from Yeovil and crews from Sturminster Newton and Mere tackled the blaze, with 18 breathing apparatus wearers using three hose reel jets and two main jets.

They were supported by a water carrier from Yeovil and a command unit from Sherborne.

Once the fire was brought under control, relief crews attended from Gillingham, Shaftesbury and Beaminster to deal with damping down and to assist the fire investigation.

The fire service say working smoke alarms 'undoubtedly' saved the man's life when he was alerted to the fire, which happened in Sandford Orcas.

Firefighters were able to bring the man to safety using a ladder, and he was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation before being taken to hospital for further checks.

The fire is believed to have started accidentally but the exact cause remains under investigation due to the amount of damage.

Station manager Brad Stevens, who attended the incident, said: “The occupier was woken by his smoke alarms, and this undoubtedly saved his life. The property was also fitted with fire escape windows, which meant firefighters were able to bring him to safety as soon as they were on scene. The fire was extremely intense on the ground floor of the house, and there was smoke throughout, so we could have had a very tragic outcome had the alarms not sounded.”

Smoke alarms should be fitted on every floor of the property, according to the fire service, and should be tested regularly.

For more safety information, visit dwfire.org.uk/smoke-alarms