The quick response of neighbours and off-duty police officers in Derry prevented a fire in a bin spreading to a home with potentially catastrophic consequences.
The house was significantly scorch damaged by the fire that police believe was caused by hot ash being placed in a refuse bin.
"Although it is not particularly a 'police issue' we feel that given the drop in temperature this week now is a timely reminder for us all regarding safety issues around household fires," said the PSNI at Strand Road.
The force said putting hot or warm ashes into a bin can have dramatic and frightening consequences.
Referring to the incident at the Derry property the PSNI said: "Thankfully the damage was limited owing to the quick actions of several local people and two of our off duty police officers who stopped on their way to work.
"These people were able to contain the fire until the arrival of the professionals tthankfully. We have been informed by our colleagues in Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service that had this fire progressed there was a good chance the entire house may have suffered major damage or worse.
"The message is simple. Stay warm and most importantly stay safe."