NEIGHBOURING houses were struck by lightning last night, sparking a fire in the loft space of the properties.

The houses, in Brimsdown Avenue, Basildon, were struck around 8pm, with fire fighters called at 8.10pm.

Two crews from Basildon initially attended but requested an additional crew from Orsett and the aerial ladder platform from Southend once the fire had been put out.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus tackled the fire from inside the building and had two covering jets from outside.

The fire, which was extinguished by 8.30pm, left a hole in the roof of the properties which was covered by the fire crews using a salvage sheet.

All residents were accounted for and there were no reports of any casualties.