A BURGER van was destroyed after it went up in flames in Bournemouth town centre.

Emergency services were called to Wootton Gardens, off Old Christchurch Road, at around 4.45pm oon Tuesday afternoon following reports of a large van fire.

The flames spread to a nearby building and local residents had to be evacuated from the surrounding area.

Plumes of smoke filled the air after the fire took hold of the vehicle, which was just a few weeks old.

The owner, who asked not to be named, said he was preparing to leave his home when he realised the van had caught alight.

He said: “We were getting ready to go to Poole bike night. I came out and it was on fire.

“I put the fire blanket on it but it didn’t do anything so I called the fire brigade.”

The self-employed caterer, who watched helplessly as his livelihood went up in smoke, said the van was just a couple of weeks old and he had no idea what caused the fire.

“It’s brand new,” he said.

“It’s my whole business.”

Mac Elsayde, who was with the owner when the van caught alight, said he tried to help his friend put out the blaze. “I tried to help my friend put it out. We tried to get to it but we couldn’t,” he said.

Footage by Mac Elsayed 

“Within about four or five minutes the whole van was on fire. It was so quick.”

He added: “My car was next to the van so I had to move it quickly. There was nothing else we could do.”

Police cordoned off Wootton Gardens up to Wootton Mount and a section of Old Christchurch Road while firefighters battled to bring the blaze under control.

A spokesman from Dorset Fire and Rescue Service said crews from Springbourne, Westbourne and Redhill attended the incident.

The spokesman said: "It is thought that the fire started accidentally as a result of an overheated deep fat fryer."

The blaze caused slight fire damage to the adjacent property and heat damage to a nearby motorbike.

One paramedic attended the scene as a precaution, however no-one is believed to have been injured in the incident.