Fire crews prevent cylinders from exploding after Halstead barn is engulfed in flames

A fire collapse a barn used to store cars on Gainsford End Road in the village of Gainsford End.

A fire collapse a barn used to store cars on Gainsford End Road in the village of Gainsford End. - Credit: Su Anderson

Firefighters in north Essex battled to prevent a gas cylinder from exploding after a blaze engulfed a wooden barn last night.

The 20 metre by 10 metre building in Gainsford End, Halstead which is used as a vehicle workshop, contained one propane gas and two acetylene cylinders.

According to the incident commander, the building completely collapsed and an exclusion zone was set up around the site.

Four fire crews from Sible Hedingham, Halstead and Braintree were called to the incident just before 4.40pm.

A water bowser from Halstead was also sent to the scene after firefighters were hampered by the poor water supply.

At 6.30pm, a 100m exclusion zone was established around the fire while efforts were made to cool the cylinders.

By 7.30pm this had been reduced to 25m and the fire had been extinguished by around 8,15pm.

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Crews remained at the scene for several hours.