FIREFIGHTERS battled last night to put out a fire which destroyed the roof of a thatched cottage.
Crews from across Hampshire worked together to tackle the blaze in South Lane, Buriton, near Petersfield, which started at around 7pm.
The family living in the two-storey detached house managed to get themselves to safety after its entire roof was engulfed by flames.
A total of 55 firefighters from Havant, Cosham, Horndean, Waterlooville, Winchester, Eastleigh and Petersfield were called to the fire and investigators are currently trying to determine how it started.
Group manager Tony Deacon from the service’s headquarters in Eastleigh said: ‘Upon our arrival we could see lots of heavy smoke in the vicinity, flames were visible in the thatch and the windy conditions were assisting the developing fire.
‘Firefighters tackled the fire from both outside of the property and from within the internal loft space where crews worked in arduous conditions as access was difficult, fire crews also carried out salvage to help prevent water damage and remove valuable property.
‘This type of incident shows the devastating effects that a thatch fire can have. I urge thatch property householders to contact their local fire station for advice and guidance on preventative measures and maintenance tips specifically relevant to living in a thatch to help reduce the risk of fire.’
Volunteers from the Red Cross worked with and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Fire and Emergency Support Service team to provide support to the evacuated family.