“IT'S like a nuclear bomb has gone off”.

That’s a description of the scenes of devastation at a Hampshire fish and chip shop after a fire ravaged the unit on Friday teatime.

As previously reported crews from four fire stations rushed to the incident at Chip’n Tails on Hollybank Crescent in Hythe when flames burst out of one of the chip pans.

Now owner Ron Besant says the wreckage is “unbelievable.”

Mr Besant, who has had the shop for 22 years, said it’s the first time he’s made an insurance claim.

He said: “There were four or five customers in the shop waiting for their food. I opened one of the chip pans and the flames came bursting out. It was unbelievable. I told everyone just to get out, switched off the gas, grabbed the phone and got out.”

Working alongside his granddaughter and another employee Mr Bessant called the fire brigade while residents in the flats upstairs started to evacuate their homes.

Customers were offered another meal at the family’s other shop on North Road in Dibden Purlieu.

Martin Frost, 32, a plumber, lives on the top floor of the three storey building and helped other residents get out. He said: “I just started knocking on doors. My flat was filled with smoke. I helped the couple at the end get out – but there’s no one elderly living here.”

Another resident living directly above the shop said it was “scary.”

Hampshire fire and rescue service are investigating the cause of the fire, although Mr Bessant said he understands it may have been caused by a problem in the extraction system.