Pebbles the hamster kept on top of electric cooker starts blaze at house in Bletchley, Bucks, that kills two dogs and chinchilla
A mother and son have been left homeless after a fire started by their pet hamster.
Tracey Hill had moved Pebbles into the kitchen for the night as he was making too much noise and keeping them awake.
They put the restless rodent's cage on top of their electric cooker to keep him out of reach of their three dogs.
But he continued to run on his wheel and the cage inched towards the buttons of the hob and somehow turned on one of the rings.
The cage caught fire, killing Pebbles, two of the dogs and a chinchilla - and sending Tracey and her son Kae, 13, fleeing in their night clothes.
The couple were saved thanks to a smoke alarm, which alerted them to the 4.30am blaze and they found their kitchen and lounge filled with deadly smoke.
But their two-storey semi in Bletchley, Bucks, suffered £20,000 damage - 25 per cent of it from fire and 75 per cent damaged from heat and smoke.
Tracey and Kae were both treated for smoke inhalation and are now in temporary accommodation.
Jack Russell Twiggy and Poppy, a Yorkshire terrier, were killed by the thick smoke.
A third terrier survived, but the family have been left with nothing but their night clothes to their name.
Tracey, 40, said: "I can't believe we've lost everything because of our pet hamster. I must have put Pebbles on top of the cooker a dozen times before when she was noisy at night.
"I never realised the switch could be turned on so easily. I moved her into the kitchen so we couldn't hear her. I stood her cage on top of the electric cooker hob - the only big enough surface that the dogs couldn't reach.
"It's a mystery how it happened. One theory is that the hamster was banging about so much that it caused the cage to slide around and press against the cooker switch."
She added: "We are heartbroken to lose four of our pets. And we've also lost all of our possessions. We literally have just the nightclothes we were wearing.
"But at least my son and I are still alive. We could easily have been killed."
The pair have been in temporary accommodation since the fire on October 30 and are waiting to be rehomed while friends and family have donated clothes.
A fire brigade spokesman said the fire is not being treated as suspicious.