Video: Spark to blame for marina blaze?

A MAJOR blaze at a marina in Essex could have been started when a spark ignited a pile of sawdust, it has emerged.

James Hore

A MAJOR blaze at a marina in Essex could have been started when a spark ignited a pile of sawdust, it has emerged.

More than 75 firefighters from across the county tackled the massive fire at the Blackwater Marina which filled the air with toxic smoke

Crews were called to the marina in Mayland near Maldon just before 8.30am where the main building was ablaze and 100% smoke-logged.

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The building, containing at least five boats, later completely collapsed.

The main blaze was put out within three hours although crews remained at the scene “damping down” small pockets of fire.

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Assistant Divisional Officer (ADO), Neil Fenwick, said: “Crews have worked very hard and faced severe water shortages because of the remote location and the fact that the tide was out.

“The building was being used for carpentry work and it seems that a spark got into the pile of sawdust and that is how the fire started.

“We will obviously be carrying out a full investigation to establish the exact cause.”

The initial fire spread through the through the building, which contained cylinders and chemicals.

Six pumps were initially sent out but at 9am the officer in charge requested backup from more fire crews.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus attempted to tackle the blaze from outside the building for safety and to protect surrounding risk.

Within an hour ADO Fenwick had requested more support and at the height of the blaze more than 75 firefighters were at the scene.

Residents living in the surrounding area were urged to close their windows and stay inside due to toxic smoke coming from the blaze.

The fire-fighting operation was hampered by a severe shortage of water and the blaze then spread to a second large building.

Essex Police's helicopter assisted the crews on the ground by identifying “hotspots” although the fire-fighting operation has now been scaled down.

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