Families Evacuated After Big Garage Fire

An investigation has started after a fire near Fareham, involving dangerous gas cyclinders.

Crews were called to Winnham Drive, Downend, at 06.16am today (19th September) and discovered two neighbouring garages well alight.

It was found that one garage contained two acetylene cylinders and cooling jets were placed on these while the fire was brought under control.

People in nearby houses were evacuated.

A family from the property next to the affected house escaped safely after they followed advice given to them during a home safety visit from Fareham firefighters less than 24 hours earlier.

Incident Commander Tim Spencer-Peet said: "Our crews proved how valuable their work is by not only averting the danger presented by the gas cylinders but also through the advice given to the neighbouring family the previous day.

"Through questioning of the residents we very rapidly established there was acetylene inside the garage and we were able to work quickly to reduce the risk to the public.

"Our Fareham crew had visited the family in the neighbouring home the previous day as part of our home safety visits and talked to them about developing a safe evacuation plan in the event of a fire. They were then able to put this into practice, probably sooner than they expected. 

"Our crews across the county carry out vital work with the communities they serve every day and this was a vivid illustration of the importance of this."

More than 20 firefighters from Fareham, Portchester and Cosham dealt with the fire. 

Portchester fire

The fire is believed to have started in a shed and spread to the garages. The cause of the fire is now being investigated and the cylinders will be monitored and removed from the property tomorrow.

The shed and the garages were severely damaged, while the main house affected was 40 per cent damaged after the fire spread to the roof space.