Firefighters tackle scrapyard blaze

FIREFIGHTERS from across north Essex spent several hours tackling a major blaze in Colchester last night.

FIREFIGHTERS from across north Essex spent several hours tackling a major blaze in Colchester last night.

The fire, which started at about 6pm, began in a garage and scrapyard on Commerce Way on the town's Whitehall Industrial Estate.

Crews from Colchester were initially called out, but a total of eights pumps were later despatched to the scene along with an aerial ladder platform and a control vehicle.

Police closed the road at the Grange Way and Commerce Way junction, causing heavy traffic to build up throughout the Hythe area of the town.

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A 200-metre exclusion zone was also put in place because there were gas cylinders caught in the flames.

The force's helicopter was also mobilised overhead and thick plumes of black smoke could be seen above Colchester.

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Nearby residents were advised to close doors and windows to keep the smoke and strong smell of burning rubber at bay.

Pete Ryland, of nearby Old Heath, told the EADT the flames had been reaching up to overhead power cables at one stage.

He said: “It is calming down now, but I know there are gas cylinders in there as they sell LPG so there will probably be an exclusion zone.

“It looks as though it is under control but there is a bit of traffic gridlock in the area now.

“I did not hear any explosions, but it looked quite dramatic.”

By around 9pm, fire crews were still fighting to bring the flames under control.

Dean Stevens, senior divisional officer for Essex Fire Service, said: “Fire crews are tackling the fire in three sectors. Acetylene cylinders are involved in the fire and a 200m exclusion zone has been set up.

“Fire crews are continuing to damp down the fire, the aerial ladder platform is in use and three main jets and four monitors are supplying water to the fire.”

The cause of the blaze is not known at this stage. No-one is thought to have been injured.

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