A Winchester landlord battled bravely against a fire that broke out in the kitchen of his historic pub.

He was forced to evacuate Southgate Street's The Exchange after a fault with an unattended deep-fat fryer started the blaze yesterday.

Three members of staff and a handful of customers were in the building at the time, although none required medical treatment.

Landlord Colin Clark fought the flames with four fire extinguishers and an industrial fire blanket before escaping on to the street.

Mr Clark has only been in charge of the pub, believed to be the only one in the country called The Exchange, for six months.

Serious damage was caused to the kitchen and to the first floor but fire crews prevented it spreading any higher, or to any other buildings in one of the city's most historic streets.

Fire fighters from the nearby North Walls station were at the scene within two minutes and Southgate Street had to be closed to traffic.

Two crews from Winchester, two from Eastleigh and one from Sutton Scotney, were joined at the scene by a special equipment unit and Winchester's turntable ladder, which is set to be transferred from the city to Southsea.

Mr Clark, said: "It went up fairly quickly but there was no one in the kitchen at the time.

"We went to get in there and it was well alight. I used four or five fire extinguishers but it does not take long to empty them.''