Fire crews battle blaze in heart of Waterlooville

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MORE THAN 30 firefighters battled a blaze in between two housing developments as residents turned out in droves to watch the efforts from a bridge that connects them.

Smoke could be seen billowing into the air miles away from the blaze by Waterlooville’s Kentidge Way, in a field of standing wheat where five large plastic construction tubes each about 3m x 10m were alight.

Black smoke billows into the air   Picture: Jeff Coates

Black smoke billows into the air Picture: Jeff Coates

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service received 53 calls about the incident, which occurred yesterday near the Berewood estate, just before 7.30pm.

Crews from Waterlooville, Havant and Cosham fire stations worked for almost two hours to put the blaze out in the west of the town, with assistance from Fareham.

About 200 residents gathered on the new flexi bridge that connects those living in Wellington Park and Berewood to watch the incident unfold.

Craig Sadler, watch manager for Cosham Fire Station, worked to put out the fire. He said: ‘There were eight plastic tubes at the scene altogether.

‘Five were fully alight when we arrived and have been completely destroyed, but we managed to save three.

‘The tubes are used in site construction for waste and water and were due to be put in the ground.

‘The fire was a severe one and a large area of grassland field caught alight, as well as standing wheat.

‘Because the fire involved plastic there was also thick, black acrid smoke in the air.

‘There are no ignition sources nearby and the cause of the fire is unknown. It will be investigated in due course.’

Police attended the scene and cordoned off Kentidge Way to members of the public. Fifty-year-old Dave Pike could see the smoke from the blaze from his home two miles away.

Concerned about what was happening, he rushed to the scene and said: ‘I stood on the bridge with about 200 people and saw the tubes were well alight.

‘I’ve never seen Waterlooville so busy at that time of night. The size of the fire was very worrying, but after a while you could see firefighters had it under control. I suspect it could have been started by kids.’