A FIRE which has left a family of four homeless may have been started by children playing with a lighter.

Fire crews rushed to the two storey property on Sawkins Avenue, in Chelmsford, around 8.45pm on Monday night, and on arrival reported that the whole of the first floor was heavily smoke logged.

Mum Laura Greatwood, 31, had to be taken to Broomfield Hospital after suffering from smoke inhalation, but 11-year-old daughter Bethany and six-year-old boys Caylum and Jamie escaped unharmed.

Reports suggest the blaze may have started due to the boys playing with a lighter in their bedroom.

The two crews from Chelmsford had to wear breathing apparatus and use one hose reel to tackle the blaze. An automatic sprinkler system was also activated.

The fire was out just before 9.20pm, and crews then used a high pressure fan to use the building.

The Red Cross Victim Support unit provided welfare assistance to the family at the scene.