Firefighters faced intense heat and arduous conditions as they battled the fire at a block of flats in Portsmouth.
Two crews from Cosham, one from Havant and one from Southsea were called to the blaze in Cosham High Street just before 10pm last night with 16 firefighters, two officers and a fire investigation officer at the scene.
Cosham crew manager Lee Sheen said the first-floor flat opposite Cosham train station was severely damaged by fire and smoke.
He said when they were called firefighters were first told people were in the flat but soon discovered it was empty.
He said: ‘When we turned up there was thick black smoke throughout the flat and visibility was poor.’
Residents were urged to leave the immediate area but were able to return to their homes shortly afterwards.
Picture: Jason Kay, UKNIP