Fire crews from East Wittering and Chichester were called to a caravan park in Bracklesham Lane, Bracklesham, at 6.49am yesterday.
The occupiers, a couple in their 60s who were in bed at the time, were woken by the sound of their smoke detector and were able to escape their caravan unharmed.
Firefighters, using breathing apparatus and a hose reel extinguished the accidental blaze. But the caravan was destroyed by the fire and nearby properties were damaged by heat.
Station commander Marvin Smith attended the fire and is warning people to fit smoke detectors to their homes.
‘The smoke alarm saved the day here,’ he said. ‘The couple were fast asleep and had it not been for the smoke detector activating and giving them time to escape this incident would have had a very different outcome.’