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Holbrook fire destroys bungalow as neighbours rally

By Connor Steel / Photograph by Habibur Rahman

EMERGENCY services were forced into a major operation on Tuesday evening as a fire destroyed a bungalow in Holbrook and damaged two nearby properties in Holbrook; with smoke visible across Gosport as commuters returned home in the afternoon’s rush hour on the A32 Fareham Road.

Firefighters were called to the ‘serious’ blaze just before 5pm; with crews from Southsea, Gosport and Cosham all in attendance at the property in Aspengrove; just off Forest Way and Vineside. The road was shut by police and placed under a partial cordon that still remained at 9pm this evening, whilst a number of elderly residents living in nearby bungalows were evacuated to be looked after by neighbours across Holbrook.

Alongside the manned police cordon in the affected road, the A32 Fareham Road has also seen minor issues this evening as a result of this ongoing incident. Hoses were attached to the hydrant on the A32 and ran through the junction of Brockhurst Gate, whilst firefighters were fighting the peak of the blaze from the pavement behind an extended cordon that covers part of the A32; emergency services remain on this side of the incident, but traffic hasn’t been overly affected throughout.

Photographs taken from the scene showed a huge emergency service presence but also show that the roof of one property has completely collapsed which is exposing blackened and charred supports.   Although the fire is believed to have been controlled and extinguished by 5.45pm, the scene is still being dampened down; with any remaining cordon not expected to be fully lifted until structural engineers can completed their health and safety assessments

Accommodation is continuing to be found for those affected, with officials from Gosport Borough Council in attendance to support if needed. It is believed however that the majority will be staying with friends and families. Residents and neighbours are also promising to rally round when needed; including a potential Crowdfunder to support affected people rebuild following this incident. Earlier this evening they were seen helping make cups of tea and refreshments for those affected, as well as ensuring everybody was able to contact loved ones in the immediate aftermath.

The cause of the fire has not been revealed by the fire service, although they were keen to thank all those who helped at the scene for their quick thinking support; including one resident who provided a hose to stop the flames from expanding further whilst the emergency services were being called.

No official statement has been made by local emergency services or authorities on this incident.