Published: 06:38, 19 July 2021
| Updated: 15:21, 19 July 2021
A cannabis factory has been uncovered following a house fire which caused extensive damage.
Pictures from the scene show crews tackling the blaze at the property in Littlebourne Road, Canterbury.
The fire broke out in the semi-detached property at about 4am this morning.
Police have since confirmed cannabis was found growing at the property, and an investigation is under way.
The A256 Littlebourne Road was closed for several hours in the aftermath, but has since reopened.
Thick black smoke could be seen billowing into the air in the early hours, with neighbours reporting smelling cannabis.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service urged people in the area to keep doors and windows closed, but lifted the advice at 10am.
At the height of the blaze, four fire engines were at the scene.
Crews wearing breathing apparatus fought the flames using two hoses and a height vehicle.
Eyewitness Richard Picton said two cousins who happened to be passing after watching a meteor shower raised the alarm after they spotted smoke pouring from the property.
They called the emergency services and knocked on neighbours' doors to warn them.
Richard said: "They were banging on doors and getting neighbours up.
"I joined in and went round the back. I could see through the windows the fire was very well-established, it had been going for a while.
"Emergency services arrived pretty sharpish. Within half an hour of the emergency services getting here, the whole roof was on fire, with flames billowing out of the roof."
Police, ambulance crews and a council officer were also called to help at the scene, but no one was injured.
Pictures show the extent of the damage, with most of the roof of the property destroyed.
Supermarket worker Theresa Gower, who lives next door to the fire-hit property with her husband and 30-year-old son, said: "We were awoken at about 3.45am. The couple who woke us up initially thought it was foggy, but then realised there was smoke and saw the roof was alight.
"We were woken before our fire alarms went off. We felt thankful we were out. I'm glad everyone involved was out and safe. Property can be replaced but people's lives can't."
Her property suffered a small amount of water damage from the firefighting efforts, but was otherwise unaffected.
A police spokesman said: "Kent Police was called to assist Kent Fire and Rescue Service at the scene of a fire in Littlebourne Road, Canterbury at 4.20am on Monday 19 July 2021.
"Officers assisted with a road closure and the fire was extinguished by Kent Fire and Rescue Service with no reported injuries. The road reopened at around 9am.
"Enquiries at the scene have established that the property had been used for the cultivation of cannabis and an investigation is ongoing."