Blair blaze alert at country home proves to be smoke without fire

Tony Blair and his wife Cherie triggered a fire alert when they tried to cook breakfast at the their elegant country home.

Four fire engines were dispatched to the 17th-century South Pavilion in Wotton Underwood on Saturday morning after the smoke alarm was triggered.

A spokesman for the former prime minister said that because the property was a Grade 1 listed building, the alarm was automatically connected to the local fire station.

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"The Blairs were cooking breakfast when the smoke alarm went off," the spokesman said.

"In fact it was just smoke without a fire but by the time Mrs Blair rang the fire service to tell them they didn't need to come, they were already on their way. All rather embarrassing and she'll certainly be sending them a big thank-you note."

A spokesman for Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "Two crews from Haddenham, the nearest local station, and one from Aylesbury attended.

"One from Thame, in Oxfordshire, was on its way but was turned back.

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"When they got there, it was basically some burned toast that had set the alarm off, so it was a smaller incident than was first feared.

"The smoke was cleared with a fan and the firefighters gave some fire safety advice."