A FIRE which tore through a house is thought to have started in a sauna.
The semi-detached home in Southwood Road, Hayling Island, has been left a burnt-out shell following the huge blaze.
The blaze is believed to have started in a sauna in a conservatory at the back of the property.
Flames quickly engulfed the building, causing the roof to collapse.
Forty-five firefighters from across the area worked to contain the blaze and stop it spreading to the house next door.
An aerial platform towered over the house on the seafront street as firefighters hosed down the flames.
Jerry Leonard, the incident commander, told The News: ‘We had numerous calls in our control room and the first crew on the scene were met with a serious fire at a house that was beginning to spread to the property next door.
‘Shortly after the first crew arrived the roof collapsed into the building.’
The road was cordoned off and crews were on the scene for about four hours.
Mr Leonard said: ‘We believe it was an accidental fire.
‘The occupants of the property were in the house at the time and they managed to escape.
‘There was a sauna in the conservatory and we believe the fire started within the sauna.’
He added: ‘It’s going to be uninhabitable for some considerable time.
‘The roof has collapsed into the first floor and the ground floor is very badly damaged by fire.’
Residents watched in shock as the drama unfolded from about midday yesterday.
A resident of Eastoke Avenue, who did not want to be named, said: ‘Someone said there was an explosion.
‘I was in my garden and I saw black smoke coming up. ‘
Scott Hodges, 42, a local resident, said: ‘I saw smoke as I was driving up the road.
‘I just saw a few people running, there was a door open and a lady was coming out of the house.
‘She seemed okay, initially I thought it was a bonfire.
‘Then I looked up and saw the roof. It was horrendous.’
‘I feel really sorry for them, because I think the house was up for sale. It’s a shame.’