Thursday, July 25, 2024

Inferno at Grays Wood Products store

1900 hrs 6.11.12

A GRAYS wood yard and shop have been totally destroyed in a blaze that resulted in some 12 families – 40 people – being evacuated from an adjoining row of terraced houses.

The families have been given shelter in a nearby library after the local emergency planning team were called to assist them. Power to their homes had to be cut as some 50 firefighters worked in punishing heat and smoke to prevent spread through the terrace.

The wood yard and shop, containing timber products, glues, resins and adhesives went up in a ball of smoke. Firefighters arriving at the scene quickly gained access to roof space in the terrace to ensure it was not a common void and that flames would not rip through the whole block.

Other crews immediately accessed the adjoining terraced house, converted to two flats, and poured jets onto the blaze from an upstairs window.

As flames took hold, crews had to be withdrawn for their safety and firefighting operations continued from outside the corner plot.

At 21:02 hrs, incident commander Divisional Officer Greg Keys, said that a deep seated fire remained within the dangerous structure of the remainder of the building and that the last remnants of the property could fall at any time, spilling out onto the road.

The whole area has been cordoned off. There are no casualties. A joint Police and Fire Service investigation is already under way as it is thought the fire may have been started deliberately.

DO Keys said: “Crews faced a real inferno when they arrived at the scene – the corner plot where the shop and yard stood was radiating heat and smoke with the contents of the yard fuelled by a whole range of flammable liquids.

“The first priority was to evacuate families as there was every possibility that the blaze was going to spread right through the terrace. While that was going on, the first crews went straight into the immense heat and smoke to do what they could to save the property and prevent spread.

“Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, there was nothing that could be done to protect the timber yard and shop but they worked hard to ensure the blaze did not spread beyond the first, adjoining terraced house. The top floor suffered as a result of radiated heat and the ground floor suffered heat damage and flooding.

“The fire is now coming under control and we have ordered a four pump relief with an aerial ladder and expect to be on site through the night.”

Relief crews from Wickford, Southend, Loughton, Chelmsford and Ongar took over at the scene at 21:30 hrs.

Update 06:25 hrs Wednesday: Relief crews worked throughout the night and finally left the incident at 05:39 hrs reporting that all appears cool at the scene.

The site has been left in the care of the Police and investigations will continue at first light.

A fire crew will revisit the site at 08:30 hrs to ensure it remains safe.

All photos courtesy of Essex County Fire and Rescue.

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