A FIRE ripped through seven gardens in a Hampshire street, destroying sheds and conservatories.
The blaze started last night after a bonfire in a garden in Northlands Road, Totton, got out of control at about 5.30pm.
It quickly spread to neighbouring gardens in Bishops Close, destroying fences and four sheds as well as damaging three conservatories.
A picture of the blaze by Daily Echo reader Petra Arnott
Pensioner Jill Jordan was one of the residents worst affected by the blaze.
The 79-year-old was at home in Bishops Close after 5pm when she saw smoke billowing over her neighbours’ fence.
She said: “I went over and asked them to put it out, as you shouldn’t have bonfires during the day.”
She then went to look after her husband Len, who has dementia, inside the house, before realising something was wrong.
Jill Jordan in her devastated garden
She continued: “I realised something was going to happen, the smell was terrible.
“So I decided to get my husband out of the house and call the fire service.”
She went to a relative’s, and returned later in the evening to find most of her beloved garden had been destroyed.
Her shed, plants and a new shed built by her three sons to watch the World Cup were all completely destroyed, while the heat of the fire had melted much of her conservatory.
The great-grandmother continued: “It’s devastating. The damage is just horrific.
“There’s got to be thousands of pounds worth of damage. This garden was my life’s work and it’s gone up in flames.
“I can’t believe it, I can’t shop shaking.”
Her neighbour, 38-year-old Suzie Moore, had been working at the New Forest Show when she received a call to say her garden had been engulfed in the blaze.
She got back after 8pm to find her shed reduced to charred wreckage and a number of her plants and vegetables destroyed.
She said: “It’s been a nightmare – it just shows what fire can do.
“In the end I’m thankful no-one was hurt and the houses were OK.
“In the end it was objects that were destroyed, they can be replaced but it’s still a bit of a shock.
“My garden is black. And my sprouts have died, that’s the saddest thing.”
The heat of the fire was so extreme that it melted guttering on several of the houses from metres away and destroyed at least 20 windows.
Firefighters from St Mary's and Redbridge stations were called to the scene and battled the blaze.
No-one was injured.
Smoke billows over houses. Picture by Daily Echo reader Petra Arnott