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Update: Man charged with arson after fire engulfed houses in London Road, West Thurrock

Update: 0730 hrs 4.3.13

A man will be appearing in court today, Monday March 4, after being charged in connection with a serious fire at London Road, Grays.

Danny Fisher, 30, of no fixed address, is charged with arson with intent/reckless as to whether life was endangered, causing more than £210,000 damage, in the early hours of Saturday, March 2.

He is further charged with criminal damage to another property at Grays on the same night.

He was detained in police custody to appear at Southend Magistrates’ Court.

UPDATE: 1300 hrs 3.3.13

DETECTIVES have renewed an appeal for information following a fire which damaged four homes in Grays.

Officers want to hear from any drivers or pedestrians who were in London Road between 2am and 3.30am on Saturday March 2 and might have seen any suspicious activity near to the row of terraced houses. They also want to hear from witnesses who might have seen anyone running away after a fire was started outside one of the affected properties.

Witness appeal boards will be posted in the area urging anyone with information to come forward.

A joint police and fire brigade investigation continues into the circumstances around the cause of the fire.

A 30 year-old man from Grays, who was arrested on suspicion of arson, remains in police custody today (Sunday).

An 18-year-old man from Grays who was arrested in connection with the investigation has been released without charge and a 24-year-old man arrested at the same time has been released after accepting a caution for criminal damage at Grays.

A 27-year-old woman from Grays who was arrested on suspicion of assault causing actual bodily harm has been bailed until March 7 pending further enquiries.

Anyone with information about the fire or circumstances leading to the incident, should contact detectives at Grays CID on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Chief Insp Ben Hodder the Thurrock district commander, said: “The community spirit shown in the wake of the fire has been incredible and we would like to thank all those volunteers who helped people evacuated from their homes and also provided refreshments and facilities for members of the emergency services. I would especially like to thank staff at The Ship pub which opened to take in evacuated people who initially had nowhere to go on a freezing cold night, the Red Cross volunteers who were on scene to help the people who lost their homes, the local church and many other local residents who helped in any way they could. Their help was invaluable and went a long way to reducing the despair of the people who lost everything in the fire.”

Update: 1500 hrs 2.3.13

A MAN has been arrested on suspicion of arson after a fire damaged four homes in Grays.

Police and other emergency services were called to London Road at 2.18am on Saturday March 2 after reports that a fire started outside a mid-terrace house. The fire spread to three adjoining properties.

Eighteen people were evacuated, including several people who were asleep and were found after police officers broke into their homes to help them leave.

The evacuated residents were given emergency shelter at a nearby public house before being rehomed by the local council.

A joint police and fire brigade investigation has been launched into the circumstances around the cause of the fire.

London Road has been closed between Devonshire Road and West Thurrock Way and is likely to remain shut for the rest of the day. Drivers are advised to avoid the London Road area and use alternative routes through Grays.

The man arrested on suspicion of arson, who is 30 and from Grays, was detained by police in the nearby area at about 3.20am. He was taken to hospital for treatment to a head injury and remains in police custody this morning.

Two men, aged 18 and 24 and both from Grays, were also arrested nearby and are being questioned by detectives regarding any connection with the incident.

Detectives have appealed for information about the cause of the fire and anyone who can help should contact Grays CID on 101.

Initial story log

Firefighters were called to a fire in a mid-terraced house in West Thurrock. On arrival the incident commander reported that the house was in the middle of a block of four terraced two storey houses and that it was 100% alight while all the other houses were heavily smoke logged.

Crews in breathing apparatus fought the fire using two hose reel jets and three main jets.

Update 03:14hrs: Crews in breathing apparatus entered all four of the houses in the block. The fire had spread into the shared roof void of the block.

Firefighters continued to tackle the fire using three main jets and two hose reel jets.

Update 04:10hrs: Firefighters continued to tackle the fire in the house of origin while a search was made for any possible fire spread in the adjoining houses.

Crews wearing breathing apparatus used three hose reel jets to tackle the fire and two thermal imaging cameras to search for fire spread.

Update 05:10hrs: The incident commander reports that the fire has now been surrounded. Crews wearing breathing apparatus are in the roof space were monitoring hot-spots.

Update 06:11hrs: The fire has now been extinguished. A two pump relief took over at the scene at site at 06:00hrs. Crews will remain at the incident turning over and damping down

Update 08:35hrs: Crews have completed their work at the scene.

An investigation will be carried out to establish the cause of the fire.

Photos courtesy of Essex County Fire and Rescue

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