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Around 45 firefighters have spent the night putting out a fire at a disused building in South Ockendon.
They were called to a former special needs school at Dilkes Wood Centre on Daiglen Drive just after 10pm last night (Thursday May 16th) to find a fire on the ground floor of the building and the first floor heavily smoke logged.
Ten nearby homes had to be evacuated because of the large smoke plume being created by the fire. They spent the night in a nearby pub and everyone has been let back home this morning (Friday).
By around 12.30am the fire had spread to both floors of the building.
Divisional Officer Mark Samuels said: "It is a large fire in a large building and crews have been working extremely hard in arduous conditions and have done an excellent job in surrounding the fire.
"The water supply in the area is a domestic supply and we have had problems getting a large enough supply to tackle the fire, but we have now established a good supply by running hose to a nearby hydrant and we have the aerial ladder platform in operation to put water on the fire from above.
"The building was disused so there has been no life risk although we have had to evacuate 10 homes nearby because of smoke from the incident.