Hundreds Evacuated After Factory Fire

A bingo hall and old peoples home had to be evacuated after a massive fire in Southend.

About 45 firefighters were needed at one point after a woodwork factory caught light on Redstock Road.

Multiple explosions were heard inside the building as it contained flammable liquid.

Surrounding roads had to be shut and an old peoples home was evacuated.

It's not known what caused the fire, an investigation into that has now started.

Luckily nobody was injured but  a woman who lived nearby needed to be treated for breathing in smoke, even though she wasn't directly involved in the fire.

Assistant Divisional Officer Neil Fenwick, incident commander, said: "When crews first arrived they were confronted with a well developed and quickly spreading fire in the ground floor of the factory.

"The unit is used as a woodwork factory and the nature of the business has meant that there is a great deal of flammable material inside the factory including wood, sawdust and various chemicals used by the joiners.

"The first crews to arrive quickly escalated the incident and we now have nine appliances tackling the fire.

"Crews have battled hard and have done an excellent job in containing the fire. Because of all the wood in the unit it has been a fiercely burring blaze and it is thanks to crews hard work and professionalism that the fire has been contained to the factory where it started.

"We are now on top of the fire and have it surrounded although it will continue to burn for some time and crews will be working on site for hours to come yet."

Photos courtesy of Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.