Basingstoke flats fire 'not suspicious' but families could be homeless for months

Council leader Paul Harvey explains what happens next.

Hampshire Police have confirmed that a fire which ripped through a housing complex in Basingstoke was not started deliberately.

Accident investigators are still trying to establish the exact cause of the blaze, which damaged around 30 homes, but they believe it was accidental.

The fire service said yesterday that they had ruled out rumours that the cause was a barbecue on a balcony.

The blaze took hold quickly and destroyed several roofs

More than 80 firefighters tackled the blaze in the Oakridge area of Basingstoke on Saturday and the residents were evacuated.

Many spoke of their fear as they tried to rescue children and pets.

Today the extent of the damage is being assessed but it's believed to be so severe that part of the block will have to be completely rebuilt.

Basingstoke and Deane District Council said the roof and top of the building in Oakridge Road will have to be taken down. 

Meanwhile residents from around 30 homes remain in temporary accommodation, with some advised they may not be able to return for months.

A firefighter assesses the damage Credit: Hartley Wintney Fire Station

Council leader Paul Harvey, who lives in Oakridge, promised to do everything possible to help the affected families and provide temporary accommodation.

"We're going to have to look after them and house them for a long period of time, and we will," he said.

"And it will be a case of working out with structural engineers what we need to do to rebuild what has been damaged and destroyed.

"But of course that will take time. Hopefully tomorrow we will be talking to the voluntary services about how to set up a donation point for the families affected.

WATCH: ITV reporter Mike Pearse spoke to eyewitnesses and residents forced to evacuate.

"But we are doing what we can to make sure nobody is without anything that they need."

Glen Bowyer, Chief Fire Officer for Hampshire, said no-one had been injured in the blaze.

He said the fire had spread into the roof and then across into several flats and had caused fire, smoke and water damage - "significant damage to a number of households".