AN investigation has been launched into the cause of a blaze that ripped through a Hampshire bungalow, killing an 84-year-old man.

Firefighters from Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Lymington, New Milton and St Mary's were called to Linden Way, Pennington, at around 7.30pm on Monday.

The man who died was alone in the property when the blaze broke out.

Firefighters broke into the L-shaped bungalow and found him unconscious in the lounge. He was carried to safety but was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Police and firefighters have begun a joint investigation into the cause of the blaze, but say it is not being treated as suspicious.

Linden Way was closed to traffic for much of yesterday to enable the inquiry to take place.

Fire crews used an aerial ladder platform to examine the fire-ravaged bungalow from above.

The blaze is thought to have started in the kitchen. Firefighters were quickly on the scene but flames were already starting to break through the roof.

Dan Tasker, assistant director of operations at Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, said: "We arrived to be told an elderly gentleman was inside the property.

"We forced an entry, got him out and gave him medical assistance until South Central Ambulance Service arrived at the scene."

The pensioner's wife was visiting friends when the blaze started.

Mr Tasker said: "Our hearts and condolences go out to his family and people living in the area. It's a close-knit community."

Firefighters were on the scene until almost 10pm.

A Hampshire police spokesman said: "Despite the best efforts of firefighters and paramedics at the scene, an 84-year-old man was declared deceased.

"His next of kin have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers. His death is not being treated as suspicious, and a file is being prepared for the coroner."

A fire service spokesperson said crews wearing breathing apparatus used hosereel jets to extinguish the blaze.

They added: "One male was rescued from the property by firefighters and received immediate emergency care at the scene before he was handed into the care of ambulance colleagues."