Essex

Seven rescued from fire in flats in Essex

Seven people, including a heavily pregnant woman, were rescued when a fire broke out at a block of 20 flats in Essex.

About 25 firefighters were called to Albany Heights in Hogg Lane, Grays, at 2340 GMT on Christmas Day.

The building was evacuated of 60 people and a further seven had to be rescued from the third floor.

The fire service said the fire was thought to have started in a communal corridor. Investigations are ongoing.

Sheltered in cars

Most residents have been allowed back into the flats but damage to the corridor has meant five families are having to stay with family or friends, a spokesman added.

Orsett station officer Tony Clark said it was "fortunate that no one was hurt or badly injured".

He said many residents had been asleep or were preparing to go to bed when the fire began.

"Many were in their night clothes and dressing gowns.

"Crews had to break down some of the flat doors to check if residents were home.

"Our thoughts go out to everyone who was affected by the fire, it is terrible to have a fire in your home, especially at Christmas time."

All residents were assessed by the ambulance service, with some taking shelter in their cars to keep warm.

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