THREE houses had to be evacuated this morning after a garage fire sparked safety fears and destroyed a classic car.

The fire started at a property on Mead Street, near London Road, High Wycombe, around 10.30am today.

Firefighters believed it was caused by a car battery which was being charged.

The watch leader on the scene described the damage to both the 44-year-old VW Beetle and the detached garage as “100 per cent destroyed”.

Although the owners of the car were not in at the time, their 19-year-old son saw smoke coming from the garage and raised the alarm.

Firefighters tackled the blaze for almost 45 minutes and were forced to evacuate three properties because of concerns about the thick smoke.

The smoke reached the nearby railway bridge and firefighters alerted Chiltern Railways to the possible obstruction, although no travel disruption has been reported.

Ben Damsell, the son of the home owners, said: “About half ten I noticed lots of white smoke billowing from the seams of the garage.

“The car was my dad’s prized possession, we were trying to get it running again.”

He added most things in the garage, including the car which the family have owned since 1995, was destroyed.

High Wycombe Fire Station Blue Watch manager, John Franklin, said: “We believe the fire was caused by the charging battery.

“It took us about 20 minutes to control the fire and we evacuated three properties because we were worried about the smoke.

“We always advise people to make sure they don’t leave things like this on charge unattended.”

Firefighters have now left the scene and residents have been allowed to return to their homes.