Neighbours were evacuated from their homes after a fire broke out at a suspected cannabis factory. 

Emergency services were called to High Road in Leavesden this afternoon after a fire broke out in the roof of a maisonette.

Neighbours were evacuated by police.

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Jenni Hogan, of High Road, two doors away from the fire, said: “It is absolutely devastating for the man. It is someone’s whole life in their home.

“I saw some smoke but thought it was coming from the flume.

“I could not tell which roof the smoke was coming from.

“My husband got us out of the flat and the neighbour above us as well who was sleeping with his earplugs in.

“Only once the firemen smashed through the roof we could see the flames. I think it must have started from the loft.

“I could not tell you how long it was going on for. When something like this happens it is so quick.”

Jets were used to extinguish the fire which has destroyed the roof of the building.

Laura-Dawn MacGregor-Portlock, of Linden Lea, said: “I saw the fire engine and I went outside.

“The sky got really dark and the clouds got thicker.

“I saw some flames coming out of the roof. Police were getting people out of the next door houses.

“I don’t think anyone was in the actual house at the time except for the cat.

"I saw the cat scratching at the curtains. I think it managed to escape when the firefighters smashed the roof.

“My partner and I brought out blankets for people who were moved out of their house.”

High Road is currently closed. Gas and electricity has been turned off in the surrounding area.