Blaze engulfs string of Colchester shops

MORE than 30 firefighters were called to Colchester last night after a blaze engulfed shops, an Indian restaurant, a home and an accountant's office.

MORE than 30 firefighters were called to Colchester last night after a blaze engulfed shops, an Indian restaurant, a home and an accountant's office.

No-one was injured as people living above the North Hill restaurant escaped before fire officers arrived.

Three crews from Colchester, one from each of Wivenhoe, West Mersea, Manningtree and Tiptree, as well as a control unit from Brentwood, worked through the night after being called at about 1.20am.

The 180 square metre roof of the restaurant and office was well alight when the crews arrived and fire officers used hose reel jets and a jet from the aerial ladder platform.

Firefighters stripped away the roof of the building to extinguish the blaze and worked to stop the fire spreading to an adjoining pub.

United Utilities was called in at 3.30am to deal with external wiring affected by the fire.

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Relief crews were brought in to take over from the firefighters who had been at the scene all night. The relief staff are expected to remain there until lunchtime today.

The road is likely to be closed to traffic and pedestrians until then.

Senior divisional officer Lee Neale said: “Crews worked extremely hard and the incident went well, in that firefighters ensured the fire was contained to the buildings were it originally started.

“This is an old building with lots of hidden spaces for the fire to spread through.

“We had crews inside the building stripping away and making sure that, where we know the fire has gone into cavities, there are no hot spots and it is completely out.”

An investigation into the cause of the blaze has begun.

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