Real-life tragedy struck the home of "General Hospital" star Maurice Benard Monday -- TMZ has learned, a tiny fire broke out in the actor's home ... and several innocent stuffed animals met their demise.
Law enforcement tells TMZ, the fire started in the bathroom at Maurice's Temecula, CA home around 10:30 AM after someone left a towel over a light fixture.
Firefighters rushed to the scene and successfully extinguished the conflagration -- but not everyone made it out alive. We're told a bunch of stuffed animals belonging to Maurice's 7-year-old son fell victim to smoke inhalation.
We're told there was so much smoke in the house, the stuffed animals are no longer safe to play with -- and have to be thrown out.
Thankfully, Maurice's son wasn't home at the time. We're told he's grief-stricken, but will be okay.