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A row of farm cottages near Overton in Hampshire were badly damaged after fire swept through the shared roof space.
It happened last night (23/09/12). The blaze also spread into the first floor of the cottages at South Litchfield. More than 40 firefighters worked to stop the flames spreading to the lower half of the properties.
The people living in the cottages all escaped unhurt and a gaggle of geese was also safely rescued from one of the buildings. It is believed the cause of the fire may have been a problem in the chimney of one of the cottages.
Group Manager Jerry Leonard said: "It appears the occupants had lit the fire for the first time this winter and the chimney defect meant the rising heat set the roof space ablaze.
As people begin to light their fires, it is a very timely reminder of the importance of keeping chimneys and flues well maintained. Many fires remain confined to the chimney but, as in this case, they can spread and lead to a much more serious blaze. Through regular maintenance most chimney fires are preventable.”
Control room operators received the 999 call at 17.17pm hours and mobilised crews from Overton, Whitchurch, Basingstoke, Winchester, Eastleigh, Andover and Rushmoor. One jet, three hose reels and the aerial ladder platform were used to tackle the blaze. The roofs of the three cottages were completely destroyed, while the first floors were also badly damaged.
Group Manager Leonard said: "Water supplies were very limited due to the remote location and the crews did a great job in containing the fire with limited resources."