Rats blamed for farmhouse blaze
A family had a lucky escape after their farmhouse was engulfed in flames caused by rats chewing through electrical cables.
Four adults and four children managed to escape from the historic property in North End Lane, Cheriton, Hampshire, after the fire broke out on Sunday.
A Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said that the cause of the fire had been probed by fire investigators.
He said: "They found the origin of the fire was most likely to have been electrical cabling in the roof, which had seen its PVC insulation chewed off by rodents.
"The owner of the farmhouse was in his property at the time the fire broke out and managed to evacuate, along with several members of his family. They were then able to call 999 to raise the alarm. No-one was hurt in the incident."
Station manager Mark Budden said: "The firefighters worked extremely hard to stop the fire spreading to the rest of the roof and also salvaged much of the owner's property from the house.
"The first crew on the scene put in place a really good plan, which ultimately saved much of the roof and top floor of the building."