''I think we'll make it.'' Man who's house was burned down thanks those who helped him

A man from Basingstoke who lost his business in a devastating fire has been paying tribute to everyone who is helping him get back on his feet.

Chris Hall lost his workshop but the fire also destroyed his neighbour's home, so he says he's also struggling with guilt.

However, he told us the kindness of the local community has been overwhelming.

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In a matter of minutes, a fire destroyed the lives of two families.

A workshop was reduced to ash and the family home next door was completely gutted.

Chris Hall lost his business and the moment he saw smoke billowing from the workshop is still all too vivid.

There were flames from where there was a heater and I can only presume a towel fell on it. Literally as I opened the door within seconds I actually saw the fire flash over the roof of the workshop. My next-door neighbour Jeff was over in a flash with a fire extinguisher but it was pointless. So we stuck a garden hose in it- we were beaten out. Within about 40-50 seconds, we had to run away. It was just absolutely crazy.

Chris Hall

Chris has lost about £30,000 worth of tools and equipment but over the past few weeks there has been a steady stream of people offering what ever he needs.

The fire destroyed the lives of two families Credit: ITV Meridian
Chris has lost about £30,000 worth of tools Credit: ITV Meridian

We have a ridiculous number of tools that have been donated- stuff that I've wanted to buy but never got round to it because it's expensive. People have just been so kind and so supportive. I don't know where I would have been without the kindness of the people around us.

Chris Hall

Having no income and struggling with the guilt of what has happened has not been easy but Chris is now hopeful he will be able to start his business again and get his life back on track.

The fire happened earlier this month Credit: ITV Meridian

A week ago I said to somebody it felt like somebody falls overboard from a ship and a dozen people dive in to try and help them. Sometimes those stories still end but sadly the guy still drowns. Last week I felt like I was still under water. This week, I'm gasping for some breath- there's still a chance that it's going to go horrible wrong. We have a lot of stuff to do and some huge hurdles to climb. We have to restart the business. I think we'll make it...there's no chance we would have made it without the help of the community around us.

Chris Hall