FORENSIC teams are combing through debris following a devastating house fire that claimed the life of a Hampshire grandfather.

Brent Mason, 66, tragically died after flames tore through Yew Tree Cottage, The Drove, Calmore, on Tuesday morning.

The rest of his family, including his grandchildren and wife Elizabeth, were able to escape, but Mr Mason was trapped and his body was found inside the home.

Flames engulfed the house and sent a column of black smoke up in the air, forcing neighbours to close their windows.

Specialist officers from Hampshire Constabulary and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service resumed their work at the house yesterday morning, and an officer at the scene said that the area had been kept secure overnight.

Police officers confirmed that the fire was still under investigation and that a postmortem examination on Mr Mason’s body had proved inconclusive.

A spokesman said: “The cause of the fire is currently unexplained. Specialist officers from Hampshire Constabulary and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service remained at the scene yesterday, gathering evidence for the investigation into the cause of the fire.”

Neighbours spoke of their shock and sadness at the news of the death, as the police officer leading the investigation revealed that arson had not been ruled out as the cause of the fire.

Around 40 Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service crew members tackled the fire, taking four hours to control the inferno.

Dave Graham, station manager at Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Eastleigh headquarters, said that firefighters “aggressively” tackled the flames before finding Mr Mason.

He added that the other members of the family were able to escape the property after a smoke alarm alerted them.

Anyone with information on the incident can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.