Residents in Padbury Drive, Grimsbury have said that a blaze which severely damaged three properties and caused four families to be evacuated from their homes may have been started accidently by a cigarette lighter.
The claims regarding Saturday’s blaze were reported to the Banbury Guardian by neighbours today, Monday, although Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue can only confirm the cause remains under investigation.
Four properties were affected as the fire spread through the roof spaces and down cavity walls.
The homes remain cordoned off but some of the residents have been allowed back into the ground floor areas to collect belongings.
Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Station Manager Chris Wilson praised his fire crews whom he said worked for several hours in extremely difficult conditions to battle the blaze.
“It was all hands to the pumps for two hours,” he said.
“Our firefighters carried out very aggressive fire fighting action.
“It was extremely hot and the crews had to use breathing apparatus and in some cases were on their hands and knees or bellies fighting the fire in very difficult conditions.”
“Other crews were cutting holes in the roof to vent the super heated gasses.”
Firefighters rescued pets including parrots, cats and hamsters along with personal items including photographs and laptops.
Oxfordshire County Council’s Emergency Planning Department is working to re-house the families and nearby Banbury Dashwood Academy is collecting donations of clothing and personal items.