Fire crews tackle workshop blaze

FIREFIGHTERS in Essex are tackling a suspicious blaze in a wooden workshop today after receiving reports of explosions.

FIREFIGHTERS in Essex tackled a suspicious blaze in a wooden workshop today after receiving reports of explosions.

The fire started at about 8.30am at a workshop used for car repairs and storage on an industrial estate in West Hanningfield, near Chelmsford.

Crews from Chelmsford, Baddow and Hadleigh attended the scene and police officers were also on site to help investigate the blaze.

The presence of cylinders complicated the operation, but a fire service spokesman said crews made “steady progress” and nobody was injured.

Families living nearby - many in caravans - were asked to keep their windows and doors closed while a “cooling operation” continued at the site.

Crews later established that the acetylene cylinders exploded in the early stages of the fire.

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A 200 metre hazard zone was set up but was later reduced. Cooling operations continued in the afternoon.

In early afternoon assistant divisional officer Kevin Brushett said: “The hazard zone has been reduced to just the area immediately around the fire and the remaining cylinders, which are oxygen and carbon dioxide, do not pose a risk.

“Crews have worked very hard.”

The fire was put out by 2.44pm.