Detectives have launched an arson probe after an elderly woman was rescued from her blazing home.

The fire completely destroyed the woman’s house which was situated in the grounds of Stroud School in Highwood Lane, Romsey.

She is now being treated in hospital for the effects of smoke inhalation. Her injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

Police are now focusing their inquiry on a fire-damaged vehicle that was parked next to the house.

Officers were called to the scene shortly before 7am this morning and smoke could be seen billowing from the detached two-storey property.

Over 50 firemen attended the incident.

Station Manager Mickey Smither, who was in charge, said: “The fire spread very quickly throughout the property. We had a shortage of water supply at the early stages of the fire because the hydrant supply was weak, which hindered fire fighting slightly. However, crews worked hard to run the hose reel, requested for the water board to increase the supply and immediately mobilised two water carriers.”

The fire was extinguished just after 10am this morning but crews remained on the scene to damp down.

Over 50 personnel attended the incident, including crew from Romsey, Eastleigh, St Mary's and Redbridge, along with the special equipment unit and two water carriers.

Three jets, two hose reels and six breathing apparatus were used to control and extinguish the fire.

Detectives from Eastleigh CID are now appealing for information from anyone who was in the Highwood Lane area between 5am and 7am this morning.

Anyone who saw or heard anything suspicious is asked to contact Eastleigh CID by phoning 101. Mini-com users can phone 01962 875000.

Information can be given anonymously by phoning the independent Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.