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14 February 2012, 06:18
Around 60 people have returned to their homes following a fire at a scrapyard in Tilbury.
It started in Hume Avenue just after 7pm last night (Monday February 13th).
Nearby homes were evacuated, and trains were stopped for a while, following worries that gas cylinders there could explode.
By around 10:30pm the railways track was reopened.
Incident Commander-Divisional Officer Gary Jeffery said:
"The fire is in a car repair yard containing various outbuildings and workshops where a number of cars and acetylene cylinders are stored. The cylinders have the potential to explode when they become heated and a 200 metre exclusion zone has been set up around the incident.
"Approximately 60 people were evacuated from their homes tonight and a rest centre has been set up by the local authority emergency planning team for the residents to take shelter and keep warm.
"The fire has now been surrounded and monitors are applying water to the acetylene cylinders.
"The QinetiQ robot unit has arrived at the incident and is preparing to go into the yard. Tests will be carried out on the acetylene cylinders to determine how safe they are.
"At the present time the exclusion zone will remain in place for 24 hours until the acetylene cylinders are cool and declared safe.
"Firefighters have done an excellent job in preventing the fire from spreading to surrounding commercial and residential properties."
The fire was put out by 02:13am and Essex fire service and Essex police will carry out an investigation this morning (Tuesday February 14th) into the cause of the fire.