THE owners of a former model shop which was damaged after the flat above it caught fire have thanked the fire service.
John and Frances Harris own the property on New Road, in Portsmouth, which until recently housed The Model Shop.
As previously reported in The News, firefighters from Southsea were called around 5am on Saturday to a blaze in the flat.
The fire caused serious damage to the front room but the rest of the flat only had smoke damage.
The shop below had minor smoke and water damage.
John said: ‘Fortunately two weeks before the fire we opened a new model shop on Kingston Road and had already moved our stock.
‘If we hadn’t the situation could have been a lot worse.
‘We would have had to close for a few days and some of our items could have been damaged. We would have lost profit and who knows what might have happened.
‘Although nobody wants a fire to happen, we are a little relieved that the damage was not as big as it could have been.’
Mr Harris said the person living in the flat closed the front room door, stopping the flames from spreading.
‘The real damage is contained in the living room,’ he said.
‘The whole flat might have been gutted but it only suffered smoke damage.
Mrs Harris added: ‘The fire service were really efficient and we want to thank them for their help.
‘They were brilliant and we cannot praise them enough.
The man in the flat was taken to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation. He was discharged later the same day.
Mrs Harris said it is believed an electrical fault with a lamp caused the blaze.