Mr Connors’s two hybrid cars, the nearly-new Volt and an older Suzuki which he had converted himself, were recharging overnight on Thursday when a fire ripped through his garage, leaving just the beams standing.

The adjoining house, which the Connors built themselves 40 years ago, only survived because a firewall between the two stopped the blaze spreading.

Firefighters said last week they believed one of the cars – which were both left as burnt- out shells – could have triggered the blaze.

But they were still investigating what caused the blaze this morning when a second fire ignited in the battery of the Volt, which Mr Connors had left unplugged.