Flames up to 20ft high ripped through a Melton man’s garage before engulfing his car parked on the driveway and spreading to other properties.
Brian Cunnington, of Field Close, was in his garage checking over his cherished motorbike when he first saw the flames.
Brian (72) said: “I had a gas heater on, on one bar, behind me. As I looked around I saw the flames coming up. I picked up a towel and tried to waft the fire out but it just spread. It became too much for me and it just went up.”
A neighbour called 999 and Brian could only look on helplessly as the blaze tore through his garage before quickly spreading to his Toyota Yaris parked on the driveway.
He said: “The flames were as high as the trees and above the bungalow. They must have been about 20ft in the air. The firefighters said they could see the black smoke from the Burton Road bridge.”
The fire destroyed everything in the garage including Brian’s cherished BMW 1000cc 1980 motorbike which he’d rebuilt 10 years ago and which he used to ride to France every year for a BMW rally.
Brian said: “The bike was my pride and joy, it was the only thing I had. I rebuilt it 10 years ago and got it spot on. It was due for its MOT and I was ready to go on it to France again this year.
“The bike was full of petrol, about four gallons. I could hear things popping and banging in the garage as the fire got fiercer.
“A lot of people turned up to see what was going on and all my neighbours told me to just go around if I wanted any help.”
Other property destroyed in Sunday’s garage blaze included a tumble dryer, lawnmower, high pressure washer, motorbike accessories, camping gear and various work tools and electrical equipment.
The raging fire quickly spread to Brian’s Toyota Yaris parked on his drive. He said: “I thought about moving the car back but it all happened so quickly and the keys were in the garage so I couldn’t get back in. By then the front of the garage was ablaze and it had spread to the car.”
The searing heat from the fire caused Brian’s bathroom and porch windows to burst through as well as damaging his roof. Heat from the blaze also caused damage to his next door neighbour’s roof.
Firefighters were called to the scene at about 11.40am. A Melton crew was first to arrive with a second engine coming from Oakham.
They tackled the blaze using one main jet, one hose reel and two breathing apparatus. Firefighters also checked adjacent homes for any fire spread by carefully removing tiles.
Firefighters confirmed the cause of the blaze was accidental. Investigators believe something came in contact with the heater and caught fire.
Brian, who said the incident ‘could have been a lot worse’, is now in touch with his insurers and awaiting a visit from assessors.