Council staff swung into action to provide a reception centre for people evacuated from their homes in the wake of the blast.

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Tendring District Council laid on the facility at Clacton Town Hall at the request of Essex Police. The centre was set up mid-morning to take in up to 13 people who may have needed somewhere to go while they made arrangements following the explosion.

However, most went to family and friends and only two people turned up at the town hall in Station Road and they left at around 12.15pm.

Staff remained in place ready to provide assistance but no-one else arrived.

Communications manager, Nigel Brown, said that the council’s Emergency Plan was put into operation and the centre provided following the request from the police.

“We were there to deal with anyone who required somewhere warm and dry to go while they made arrangements following this morning’s blast,” he said.

“However, no-one has shown up for almost six hours and we will close the facility down and refer anyone who needs us to our 24-hour helpline.”

Council volunteers have manned the reception centre along with staff from Essex County Council.

Tendring council building surveyors were also sent to the scene of the blast where they were dealing with any dangerous structures.

Anyone who needs assistance with housing in the wake of the blast can contact the council’s 24-hour helpline on 01255 222022.

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