Canvey Island fire: Reports of 'explosion' at industrial unit

The fire at Canvey Island Image copyright Agnes van Lowlands
Image caption Station manager Kevin Haywood said the fire had spread to neighbouring fields

Dozens of firefighters have tackled a major blaze at an industrial unit and a neighbouring field.

It followed reports of a loud explosion at the unit on Northwick Road, Canvey Island in Essex just after 14:00 BST.

Kevin Haywood, of Essex Fire and Rescue Service, said the "industrial unit fire is now out" and crews were damping down the field fire which had been put out.

"We expect to stay at the site for some time into the evening to ensure there are no remaining hot spots," he added.

Image copyright @Dave__Bailey
Image caption Eleven appliances are in attendance

Earlier, cordons had been put in place to protect fire crews as the industrial unit contained a number of cylinders.

"Firefighters are preparing to open each one to cool down the contents and ensure they are safe," Mr Haywood said.

"The cylinders in the building have now been neutralised and are safe."

One person tweeted to say they had heard a "massive bang".

During the height of the fire, residents were advised to keep doors and windows closed due to the large amount of smoke.

Incident commander Mark Samuels said: "Had it not been for the quick actions of our crews the fire would have spread more rapidly and affected more of the industrial estate."

Image copyright @Aleatorus
Image caption Fire chiefs praised crews for stopping the fire from spreading rapidly

Essex Police said several businesses and properties are being evacuated on Northwick Road and the surrounding areas.

Morrisons confirmed its Northwick Road branch had been evacuated - as had other businesses nearby - on the advice of the fire service.

The firm said it was not sure when the store would reopen.

In a statement, McDonald's restaurant said: "While our restaurant was not involved in the fire, as a precautionary measure it has been closed."

The fire service said an investigation into the cause of the fire will take place in due course.

Image copyright Agnes van Lowlands
Image caption Essex Police said several businesses and properties were evacuated

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