North End pastry shop is destroyed by 'severe' blaze which took dozens of firefighters three hours to quell
A SEVERE blaze has destroyed an Italian pastry shop, sparking an investigation by fire officials.
La Delizia, in London Road, North End, was ravaged by the inferno last night.
The fire erupted shortly after 8pm and rapidly engulfed the recently-opened store.
About 35 firefighters from across Southsea, Cosham and Portchester were scrambled to tackle the blaze.
People living in three flats – two above the pastry shop and one on the ground floor – had to be evacuated as the fire threatened to spread to other buildings.
Southsea crew manager Graham Dance was the incident commander in charge of fighting the blaze.
He said: ‘When we arrived you couldn’t see through the front windows because of the smoke. It was quite severe pulsing smoke.
‘The conditions were dangerous and it took us a while to get into the property.’
Fire crews battled valiantly in a desperate attempt to save the building and prevent the flames from spreading.
Officers used 14 breathing apparatuses and positive ventilation fans to bring the fire under control in an operation that took about three hours.
Crew manager Dance added the pastry shop had been ‘gutted’ by the fire, which is believed to have ignited in the rear of the building.
However, he said the three flats nearby had been saved and has since praised the actions of all those involved in the operation to fight the blaze.
‘Crews worked extremely hard in really quite arduous conditions, so I am immensely proud of their efforts,’ crew manager Dance told The News.
In all, five fire engines were scrambled, two from Southsea, two from Cosham and one from Portchester.
Southsea’s aerial ladder platform and Cosham’s rescue support vehicle, as well as Portchester’s dedicated command truck were also called upon, along with two additional officers.
It’s not known how the fire first ignited.
An investigation into the cause of the blaze is expected to begin later today, crew manager Dance said.
Nobody was inside the shop at the time of the blaze and nobody was injured during the incident.
Traffic was brought to a standstill with the road blocked for more than two hours.