A MAIN road in Waterlooville was reopened this morning after firefighters fought a major blaze.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to London Road at around 2.30am after fire started in a derelict farmhouse.
Four appliances from Waterlooville and Cosham were at the scene of the fire in Waite End Farm, which was extensively damaged.
A section of London Road between Waterlooville was closed.
It had been expected that the road would remain shut between Mill Road and Rockville Drive for several hours this morning, but police were able to reopen it by 8am.
Graham Richmond has lived next door to the derelict building for the past two years and said he woke to find the house alight and some young people making the 999 call.
He said fire crews deployed BA (breathing apparatus) teams to search for people inside he building and described the house as ‘an absolute maze’.
‘It’s been empty for a while but a lot of people go in there to sleep or youngsters,’ he said.
‘We share a driveway with the house. I was concerned because we are next door and if there were any gas cylinders inside... but we didn’t have to leave the house at any point.’
Mr Richmond said the house is possibly the oldest building in Waterlooville at more than 200 years old.
Rita Cross, 69, lives opposite the farm house with her husband Adrian, 73.
They were woken by the noise of firefighters working to battle the blaze.
Rita said: ‘There was a lot of shouting from police and firefighters.
‘We looked out of the window and we could see smoke pouring from the roof.
‘We didn’t know what was happening and if it was going to burst into flames.’
Sheena Twine, 53, has lived next to the farmhouse for 30 years and said it had been abandoned for about two years.
She added that she had raised her concerns with Havant Borough Council more than a year ago about people setting fires in the back garden and of squatters sleeping in the home.
‘It’s the oldest house in London Road and it’s a real shame to see it in such a state,’ she said,
‘There’s a lot of awful goings on there. There have been people setting fires in the garden which has been incredibly disruptive for the neighbours.
‘There have also been squatters living in the building.
‘To be honest, I thought it was only a matter of time until something like this happened.’
Police are now investigating the cause of the blaze.
Nobody was injured during the fire.
Pictures by Malcolm Wells and Graham Richmond