A BUNGALOW was destroyed after being engulfed by fire.
The blaze quickly swept through a semi-detached property in Haslar Crescent, Waterlooville, and more than 40 firefighters battled to stop the fire spreading to the adjoining bungalow.
A fire investigation has now begun to determine the cause of the blaze, but it is not thought to be malicious.
Fire engines from Waterlooville, Cosham, Havant, St Mary’s, and Redbridge went to the scene at about 12.10pm today.
Firefighter Sandy Thomson, who oversaw the incident, said: ‘The neighbour called us.
‘The property was empty at the time and the owner had just left.
‘When we arrived Waterlooville were the first crew and when they arrived the property was well-alight, ground and first floor.
‘Our battle was to ensure there was no spread.
‘We prevented the fire spreading to the adjoining bungalow.’
The fire took about 30 minutes to put out and had caused 100 per cent damage to the property through fire, heat and smoke.
Mr Thomson added: ‘The fire had got into the roof space.
‘The guys worked really hard to create a break by removing tiles and this prevented the fire spreading.
‘We still don’t know why the fire started.’
No-one was hurt by the fire or needed to be rescued.
A pet tortoise did manage to get out alive.
Mr Thomson explained: ‘There was a tortoise rescued. One of the occupants when they arrived was concerned about a tortoise and so the guys went and got it for them.’
The neighbours in the adjoining bungalow did not wish to speak to The News and the occupants of the fire-ravaged bungalow were unavailable for comment.
Eye-witnesses spoke of their shock at seeing the fire and the subsequent charred remains.
Annette Moore, 57, who lives across the road, said: ‘It’s awful. I have never seen so much water going in to put a fire out.
‘There was lots of smoke.
‘They were putting out the fire at the front and there were flames coming from the back dormer. The flames were about 4ft above the roof.’
Pete Rodd, 68, of Haslar Crescent, said: ‘There was a heck of a lot of smoke.
‘The flames started pouring out - really quite big. It’s incredible how quickly it took hold.
‘I’ve never seen anything like that before. I just feel sorry for the people.’
Kirsteen Fishwick, 63, added: ‘It was thick, thick smoke coming out of the front and back.
‘You could hear the glass popping – it was very dramatic.
‘My heart bleeds for them.’