INVESTIGATORS are probing the cause of a fire which engulfed a garage in Copnor and caused around 15 families to evacuate their homes.
About 70 firefighters and 10 pumps tackled the blaze in Bosham Road, which broke out at about 8.30pm on Wednesday.
Hampshire Arson Task Force officers spent yesterday at the scene but were not yet able to give the cause of the fire.
The garage’s owner Michal Borkowski, 32, has spoken of his shock upon being told of the blaze by the police.
Mr Borkowski said: ‘They rang and said it looks like your garage is on fire. I felt terrible and devastated – really angry as well, thinking maybe I’d done something wrong but I didn’t.
‘The fire investigator says it’s one of those things – could be an electrical fault, could be anything.’
The garage, called Harris Autos, is among terraced houses at the southern end of the road.
The blaze left a gaping hole in the ceiling of the garage, and Mr Borkowski said he thought the fire started in the rooms above, which were not part of his business.
He said he doubted the cause was arson and despite the presence of the arson investigators, Hampshire Fire and Rescue have said they do not believe the fire was suspicious.
About 15 people were evacuated from nearby houses but were later allowed to return to their homes.
Firefighters used a ladder pump to spray water on to the roof to quell the blaze.
Kathleen Umney, 73, who lives nearby in Powerscourt Road, said the area was packed with fire engines.
‘I felt sorry for the occupants and their neighbours,’ she said. ‘It must have been shocking.’
Mrs Umney did not see any flames, just thick smoke emerging from the building.
‘We were thinking it started in the attic because that’s where all the attention was,’ she said.
Mr Borkowski said most of the firefighters had left by 4am after the blaze had been put out.