CANDLES near an altar started a fire in an Oxfordshire church.

Firefighters were call to St Peters Church in Deddington at 5.15pm on Sunday.

Two fire engines from Banbury were sent to the scene and discovered a fire involving tea light candles placed on a table in front of the church altar.

Two church helpers who discovered the fire managed to put it out with a fire extinguisher but inhaled some of the smoke and had to be treated by paramedics.

Firefighters had to use high pressure fans to ventilate the church because of the amount of smoke caused by the blaze.