THE cause of a fire in Brighton Hill which damaged two houses is under investigation, with one resident claiming he has been raising concerns ‘for years’ that one of the homes was an accident waiting to happen.

Firefighters were called to a property in Rossini Close at 8.26pm on Saturday last week as it was seen to have caught fire.

Two units of breathing apparatus, one hose reel jet and ventilation for smoke were used by firefighters to extinguish the blaze.

No-one was injured in the incident, which saw much of the house damaged by fire, but the inside of the property was cause for concern, as it appeared to be full of waste.

Neighbour Marcus Fennell was out at the time, and came back after being alerted to the fire.

Marcus said: “I was out having a meal with my parents when one of my neighbours called me to get home straight away. I was there as quickly as I could be, and saw that the police and fire service there.”

He discovered that his house was full of smoke, which had damaged the inside of the property and some of the exterior. His wife broke down in tears after seeing the damage that had been done.

According to Marcus, the property next door to his was full of rubbish, and the previous occupant had moved out, leaving the garden overgrown and infested with rodents.

Marcus added: “I’ve been getting in touch with environmental health for the past few years about it, and while they have been out several times over that time, nothing has been done.

“The place is a mess, and we need to sort something out. It’s absolutely ridiculous that nothing had been done about this.

“People’s lives have been at risk, the previous resident was a hoarder and this put us all in danger with the fire risk.”

Both Hampshire Constabulary and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service are investigating the incident, as the cause of the fire is being identified.

The owner of the property has since been back and boarded up the door and moved most of the rubbish back in the house.

Colin Rowland, interim executive director of borough services at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council which looks after environmental health matters, said: “We are unable to discuss individual cases but, if alerted to a situation relating to the condition of a property, we would inspect the property and work with the occupier to improve the conditions.”