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A Waterlooville shop has been destroyed after it was rapidly engulfed by fire on Saturday afternoon (January 5).
Flames spread quickly through the Co-op building on Milton Road, Cowplain, causing the collapse of the roof despite the best efforts of more than 30 firefighters.
Control room operators received the 999 call from an employee at the shop at 14:51, reporting smoke issuing from the back of a freezer inside the store. The control operator advised the staff to get out of the shop immediately and crews arrived on the scene within five minutes.
The single-storey building was completely taken over by the fire and crews from Waterlooville, Horndean, Cosham and Southsea used four sets of breathing apparatus, four jets and the aerial ladder platform to extinguish the blaze.
Three people were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation by South Central Ambulance Service, one of whom was taken to hospital as a precaution. There were no further injuries.
Group Manager Tony Deacon said: "We have seen from fires in similar shops in this area how quickly the roof can be compromised.
"Our initial crews on the scene reported all members of the public had been evacuated from the building and we then quickly withdrew our initial BA crew due to the concern over the roof.
"The roof then collapsed once the flames got into the roof space and we were left to tackle the fire from outside the building."
The cause of the blaze is believed to have been an electrical fault. Crews will remain on the scene damping down and preventing any reignition tonight.
Two Tesco Express stores in Waterlooville have been destroyed by fire in recent years - on Lavender Road in September 2011 and on Grassmere Way in July 2010.