A fire caused by holly hung over a light fitting caused a fire that almost ruined New Year for a group of partygoers just minutes into 2015.
The group of around 20 had gone outside the property in Upper Wield, north of Alresford, to ring in the New Year but had their celebrations cut short by the sound of a smoke alarm.
They returned to the dining room to find a significant fire had broken out. Despite calling 999, they managed to put out the flames using fire extinguishers but the room was badly smoke damaged and part of the wall and ceiling damaged by the fire.
The cause was traced back to a sprig of holly placed above a picture light fitting, which had caught light and fallen on other decorations and furniture.
Group Manager Ryan Thurman said the incident should encourage people to think carefully about where their festive decorations are hung.
He said: “Although the decorations will soon be coming down, this is a timely reminder to people to consider where they are placed.
“It seems the piece of holly that caused this fire had dried out over Christmas as it was hanging over a light and had caught fire just as the party went outside for New Year.
“If you still have holly or any other decorations up, make sure they are placed well away from lights or sources of heat. Christmas lights should be turned off if you are going out and, of course, ensure all candles or tealights are out before you go to bed.
“This group were extremely lucky they were able to catch the fire in time but someone else might not be so fortunate.”