AN OVERHEATED lawn mower is believed to have caused a shed fire which spread to two houses in Ash Brake yesterday.

A neighbour saw thick smoke in Wirral Way and reported the incident to Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service at 2.38pm. Three fire engines attended and put out the blaze – which destroyed the shed and part of a fence.

One of the houses suffered some damage inside the property while the neighbouring home in the cul-de-sac had minor exterior damage.

Watch manager Andy Edmondson said: “We were initially told that it was just the shed on fire, but as we got nearer we were informed that it had spread to the adjacent properties. We used jets to knock the fire down and prevent it from spreading any further.

“My priority was to gain access to the properties as quickly as possible to ensure nobody was inside and the good news was that they were both unoccupied and everybody was safe. We believe that the fire was caused by an overheating lawn mower in the shed.”

Neighbours watched in the street as the firefighters worked to quickly put out the blaze.

One neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “It gave us quite a shock when we saw all the fire engines parking up. I’m just pleased to see nobody was hurt and that it was quickly dealt with.”

Crews encountered some difficulty putting out the fire as there was a risk of it spreading to a gas line. An engineer was at the scene providing assistance to the firefighters.

Andy said that fires caused by overheating electrical goods are common and urged the public to check that their products have cooled down before they store them.

He said: “My message to people would be that if you have electric or petrol lawn mowers, patio heaters or barbecues please, please make sure they are fit for purpose, well maintained and check that they are sufficiently cooled down before you put them away in sheds and garages.

“I’m pleased to report that in this instance both homes had working fire alarms so if anyone was in the properties they’d have been quickly alerted to the dangers.”