A mystery fire has destroyed a Tesco store in Hampshire with 10 customers and 15 staff members still missing.
Most of the store was promptly evacuated, whilst those in the self-service section were struggling to complete their purchases.
Eyewitness Ivan Jose-Outlook, who lives nearby, said he saw a young mother struggling to scan a Pot Noodles, believed to be sweet and sour although he wasn't too sure.
He added: "She was twirling it around at all angles, there was definitely no beeping at all". I then saw 3 Tesco staff rush to her assistance as she also had at least 6 packets of Tic Tacs to scan too. The gentleman next in line holding a blowtorch looked pretty peeved".
Within 40 minutes the store was fully ablaze and utterly ruined.
A man defended the actions of the staff saying "We have always sought to ensure a ratio of 2 to 1 with these check-outs to ensure we closely monitor how our customers use the scanners. Any suggestion that we stopped this lady taking a couple of carrier bags is quite untrue."
In a separate incident 5 miles away, Mrs Edith Hodges returned her library books at Portsmouth library. "I had no idea about the Tesco fire", she explained, "as I was 5 miles away in my local library".
Next of kin have been informed.