Westcliff: More than 100 firefighters tackle massive blaze

UPDATE: Two men have been arrested on suspicion of arson after a fire at Hamlet Court Road, near Southend on Sunday May 8.

A 32-year-old man from Westcliff and a 40-year-old man from Woodford, east London, were arrested on Monday evening and are currently being questioned at Rayleigh police station.

Detectives have appealed for information about the fire and anyone who can help should contact Dc Caroline Gould at Southend CID on 0300 333 4444.

Steady progress was being made at the huge fire in a former shop and office building in Essex.

Six fire engines remained at the site incident overnight on Sunday with a four pump relief taking over at the scene at 9am.

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The officer in charge reported that an ALP was in use removing roof tiles to allow crews access to douse hot-spots inside the building.

A full investigation is being carried out to establish the cause of the blaze.

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In all, 14 firecrews and two turntable aerial ladder platforms were being used to tackle the fire at the four storey building in Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff.

Speaking from the scene Assistant Divisional Officer Nigel Dilley said: “On arrival crews found an already well developed fire in the ground floor of this large four storey building used as offices for a firm of solicitors.

“The initial officer in charge quickly escalated the number of appliances and now we have 14 pumps tackling this incident, with eight jets in use on the building.

“We now have the fire surrounded and crews have done an excellent job in getting on top of this blaze. We are attacking the fire on four fronts and we have prevented it from spreading beyond this building.

“The building itself is pretty much destroyed and all firefighting is taking place externally because it is simply too dangerous to commit crews inside the building.

“A six pump relief will take over at 01:30hrs and crews will be here working at the scene throughout the night.”

The first firecrews were called to the scene at just before 8.30pm and on arrival discovered a “well developed” fire on the ground floor of the building and the three other floors heavily smoke logged.

Firecrews from Southend, Leigh, Shoeburyness, Hawkwell, Rochford, Canvey, Southend, Corringham, Wickford, Rayleigh Weir, Basildon, and Billericay are at the scene and are expected to remain there throughout much of the night.

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