A CLASSIC car that is its owner’s “pride and joy” suffered extensive damage from a garage fire in Christchurch.

Jonathan Rayner’s Triumph TR6 was in the middle of the blaze yesterday morning, which is believed to have been caused by a dehumidifier that he bought to protect the 1972 vehicle.

Mr Rayner, 42, woke up at around 7am to a knocking that he thought was his three-year-old son on the bedroom door.

When the financial services consultant left the bedroom at his home in Hynesbury Road, Friars Cliff, and looked out of a first-floor window he saw the flames ripping through the detached garage.

Bournemouth Echo: Jonathan Rayner’s 1972 Triumph TR6 was torched in the garage fire. He has owned the car, inset, for several years

He told the Daily Echo: “I looked down and all I could see was flames coming out of the far end of the garage roof. There was a hole about five or six feet wide. My neighbour was knocking on the front door. I screamed to my wife ‘call the fire brigade’. We got the kids out and moved my wife’s car out of the way.

“I then thought my car is in there, my little pride and joy, and I would try to see if I could get it out.

“There is a side door. I opened that after I had turned the electrics off and it was just smoke everywhere.

“There was no way I was going in there.

“I wasn’t going to get the car out although that would have been great, it was more I was worried the fire could lead to an explosion and set fire to everything else.

“The fire service came, they had hoses out and guys on the roof. There was a garage door on so it was sealed. It wasn’t going too quickly but it gathered hold.

“They ripped the garage door and sprayed water in from there.”

Mr Rayner, who has lived at the property for four years wife his wife Mel and two young children, bought the car as a “present to myself” a couple of years ago.

Bournemouth Echo: The car was in great condition before the fireThe car was in great condition before the fire

“It has been stored in there away from the rain,” said Mr Rayner. “Because it is so damp and these cars are notorious for rusting, I bought a dehumidifier to stop the whole garage getting wet and it looks like that is what has caught fire.

“It is a bit ironic. The thing I bought to look after the car has caused the damage. I have looked after it a lot. The damage doesn’t look great but the great thing about these cars is you can still get all new parts so it might be possible to rebuild it.

“It was in really good nick. The car, the garden and being near the seafront had been a great escape this year in terms of lockdown with when it eased off in the summer.”

Bournemouth Echo: Jonathan Rayner's 1972 Triumph TR6 was extensively damaged by a garage fire at his home in Hynesbury Road, Christchurch

A fire service spokeswoman said the blaze started accidentally, due to an electrical fault with an appliance within the garage. Crews from Christchurch dealt with the incident.

Mr Rayner added: “I am just gutted because when you have a car like that you don’t own the car, you are like its guardian and the worst thing for any car is to catch fire as it just melts everything.

“The only thing that is making me feel better is I can see it, it is not absolutely torched and you can rebuild them.

“It was already rebuilt in the 1990s after being brought over from America, but I don’t know whether I will have the capability to do it.”

Residents in the house next door also had to be evacuated while the fire was brought under control.

Mr Rayner was thankful to the fire service and neighbours who stepped in to help.

“I am kind of an optimist and whatever happens, happens,” he said. “It is a car, it is not a person. Massive thanks to the fire service. They were really good and our neighbours have been fabulous.”

Since the incident the family’s cat Percy has gone missing.

Bournemouth Echo: The Rayners' cat Percy went missing after the fire

“We are not sure where our cat Percy is,” said Mr Rayner. “We took him out of the house but he is really skittish so he has gone somewhere.

“We love him dearly and I am sure he will come back at some point.”