A massive fire tore through M3 Fleet services during the early hours of Thursday morning , leaving the service station in ruins.

The blaze started at around 10.30pm at the southbound services and around 50 firefighters were sent to the scene to tackle the flames.

It is believed the fire started in KFC at the services and a junction of the M3 was closed in both directions overnight as there was smoke billowing across the road.

Around 10 fire engines and seven water carriers were sent from across Hampshire and Surrey to the blaze.

It was brought under control by 2.30am but it was still burning.

Fire engulfs the southbound Fleet service station
Fire engulfs the southbound Fleet service station

One eyewitness said: "The fire started from KFC as a machine exploded.

"Everyone had been evacuated safely.

"The flames spread very quickly. I have never seen anything like it."

One lane remained closed southbound between junction 4a (Farnborough) and junction 5 (Fleet) as of 7am as crews dampened down the scene.

Highways England said the lane is expected to reopen between 9.45am and 10am.

Watch firefighters battle M3 Fleet services blaze

Marnie Prevost, 21, of Farnborough, works at Starbucks at the services and said she was told of the fire by colleagues.

“I had a text from a friend about an hour ago saying ‘your work is on fire’,” she said.

“They were sending me pictures so I text my manager asking if there was a fire.

“It sounds like it is at KFC and Burger King - there’s a lots of fryers there.

“My manager said the services will be shut tomorrow (Thursday) and told me not to come into work.”

Another eyewitness, Michael, said at around 1.20am on Thursday morning: "As I drove through the whole building was engulfed in flames.

"The firefighters were battling to stop it from spreading.

"It is still going well but it looks like the fire service have it under control."