AN ABERGAVENNY woman's life was saved by her smoke alarm, neighbours and police say.

The alarm in Debbie Bennett's bungalow in Poplars Close, Mardy activated in Monmouthshire county council's control room and firefighters were sent to her aid.

Inspector Allyn Richards, of Abergavenny Police, said they received a call from the fire brigade, which had been called to the scene by Lifeline, the central control for all council properties.

He said: "When our officers arrived the firemen had already gained entry by breaking a pane of glass in the back door.

"Undoubtedly the smoke alarm had saved her life because it had sounded in County Hall and the operator spoke to the resident who asked for help."

A spokesman for South Wales Fire Service said firefighters, wearing breathing apparatus and led by Station Officer James Harris, had gone into the bungalow and brought out Mrs Bennett, who is in her late 30s, and her pet hamster.

She was given oxygen by the ambulance crew and taken to Nevill Hall Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation. She was later discharged.

The hamster was taken in by neighbours Tim and Bev Howells, whose 11-year-old son Geraint insisted he would keep a careful eye on it.

"There is no doubt at all that Debbie's life was saved by her smoke alarm. Apparently the settee was smouldering when firemen rescued her."

The settee was damaged by fire and water and the rest of the bungalow suffered from smoke damage.

Michael Phillips, Monmouthshire social and housing services spokesman said: "We are pleased that our system is working. It shows that our service makes sure vulnerable and older people are safe."

He said that all vulnerable people in the county have access to the Lifeline system and they can pull a cord in their homes and speak to the controller.

The smoke alarm is connected to the call centre.