An industrial warehouse in Basildon was left in ruin this morning following a huge overnight fire.
Crews have been at the site for nearing on 20 hours after the fire on Christopher Martin Way was first reported at around 10.20pm yesterday (Saturday, August 29).
Nine teams from the surrounding area were initially dispatched to the scene as it soon became clear that they were dealing with a serious incident.
The fire grew rapidly, spreading across the warehouse until the entire building was alight by 12.25am.
Residents from miles around captured huge flames and clouds of smoke pouring into the air near the A127, around a mile east of Festival Leisure Park in Basildon, Essex.
At least 16 fire crews were at the scene during the peak of the incident, and while the fire is now under control, firefighters are still working to access hotspots blocked off by the damage.
This is everything we know so far.
Residents warned to stay indoors
Within minutes of the fire being reported, the flames and dark black clouds of smoke that accompanied it grew quickly.
A video captured by a witness close to the warehouse showed a number of emergency service vehicles at the scene trying to control the blaze as it spread across the building.
Residents were advised by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service to stay indoors and to keep all windows and doors closed with smoke pouring over the surrounding area.
By 11.10pm, eight appliances and two Aerial Ladder Platforms, from Chelmsford and Grays, were in attendance.
Just over an hour later, crews reported that the entire building was alight.
It would be another eight hours before the fire service confirmed that the blaze was under control, and by this time the majority of the warehouse had been destroyed.
‘Molten syrup’ leaking towards the water
Four new crews took over at 11.30am today as firefighters attempted to reach the areas of the building blocked off by the collapsed structure.
The fire service then confirmed that during the initial fire, an amount of molten syrup had begun to leak from the building and spread from the scene.
Crews continued to work with the Environment Agency and Anglian Water to prevent the substance from reaching the watercourse and potentially contaminating the water.
Incident Commander Martyn Hare said: “When we begin to move the collapsed parts of the building around to reach hotspots, there will be further smoke created, so we recommend you keep your doors and windows closed if you live nearby.
“Crews have done a superb job of getting this fire under control, but we’ll be here for some time yet.
“Working alongside the Environment Agency and Anglian Water, several specialist measures have been put in place to make sure that the watercourse is not affected by the leaked material.
“Thank you to everyone in the local area for your patience and support.”
Crews remain at the scene, now more than 18 hours after the blaze was first reported.
They are expected to remain on site for the rest of the day to ensure all hotspots are dealt with.
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