Faulty electrics spark Christmas Day house blaze

Cladding being taken off Horatia House in Somers Town Portsmouth

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A FAMILY'S Christmas has been ruined after a fire raged through their home.

The blaze began at 4.20am on Christmas morning when electrics in the family's shed caught fire.

It quickly got out of control and spread to the home in Foxcott Grove, Leigh Park.

Neighbours frantically tried to kick down the front door of the house after flames engulfed the property, not realising the family were away.

Next door neighbour David Palmer awoke to hear the fire crackling and feared the worst.

The 30 year-old support worker said: 'I heard this strange noise and looked out of the window to see the bright orange glow of the flames and my first thought was that someone had set my car on fire. I looked again and realised it was coming from next door.

'I just threw my clothes on and ran outside. It looked really bad so I called 999 and tried to kick the front door in.

'All that was racing through my mind was that there was a family in there. They are a really nice family with twin boys and a little girl.

'I must have tried about 10 times but it wouldn't open. Another big guy came along and he tried and by that time the firefighters were there.

'Then one of our neighbours came out and said they were away which was such a relief.

'It was like a scene from Coronation Street when the tram hit the street. Everyone down the road came out of their houses and was out watching what was going on.

'I think it's just a miracle nobody was in there at the time. To me, it looked like an inferno. I'm so glad there was no one there. I can't imagine there being a worse time for this to happen than Christmas. I'm sure everyone round here will support them if they need anything at all.'

Initially firefighters suspected foul play and police were called in. An officer was posted outside the property while the fire investigation team carried out their enquiries.

Detective Constable Jamie Fagan, from Waterlooville CID, said: 'It was an electrical fault in the shed. We put an investigation in place and foul play has been ruled out so we no longer have anything to do with the matter.

'We have spoken to the family and let them know what has happened.'

The family left the house a couple of days before Christmas to visit relatives in Scotland.

Firefighters from Havant, Emsworth and Cosham spent 90 minutes putting out the blaze.

Havant watch manager Barry Stray, said: 'Unfortunately the fire in the outbuilding spread quickly to the house damaging the hallway, and stairway as well as the upstairs. There is smoke damage throughout the house.'

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