Staff tell of moment fire ripped through Waterlooville office

The fire takes hold     Picture: Hampshire Fire & Rescue
The fire takes hold Picture: Hampshire Fire & Rescue
Mark, Karen and children Amber and Holly

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WORKERS have told of the dramatic moment that a huge fire ripped through their office.

A small team of staff were working in the early hours of yesterday morning when the blaze started at IT firm Nxtera in Waterlooville.

The whole top floor of the office building, off Waterberry Drive, was destroyed with firefighters taking four hours to put out the fire and make the scene safe.

Ben Brockway, head of core development, said: ‘It was around midnight when, while we were working, we could smell a fire.

‘We were trying to work out if it was inside or outside the building when the ceiling tiles started crackling.

‘I went to find a fire extinguisher but in the seconds it took me to grab one, the fire was huge.

The remains of Nxtera building

The remains of Nxtera building

‘We grabbed two laptops and left the building.’

Ben, who has worked at Nxtera for five years, added: ‘We were all full of adrenaline immediately after we got out, but then we were just stood there watching the building go up in flames.

‘It was weird seeing this massive fire burn our office to the ground.’

The company, which expanded to occupy both sides of the building last year, was operating off-site yesterday.

I went to find a fire extinguisher but in the seconds it took me to grab one, the fire was huge.

Ben Brockway

Staff were able to work externally to keep the business going and to serve their customers.

Chief technology officer David Adcock admitted they were unsure what would happen to the building.

‘There is a lot of damage and the whole of the top floor is gone,’ he said.

‘I suspect it will be demolished.

‘Because all of our work is online, the building is just bricks and mortar. What’s happened is upsetting, but the important thing is no-one was hurt. The fire spread very, very quickly but we were all able to get out.’

Six pumps from Cosham, Southsea, Havant, Waterlooville and Portchester were called to the blaze and were on site until 4am.

Four to five jets were used to put out the fire and, because of the windy conditions, crews had to work to prevent the flames spreading to nearby buildings.

A spokesman from Southsea station said: ‘Six pumps went along to the fire with the aerial ladder platform team from St Mary’s.

‘It was at a business building within the small business park.

‘The fire was well alight when the first crews arrived.’

He added that the cause of the fire is being investigated.