THREE homes were destroyed in a suspicious blaze at a caravan park.

Police and firefighters have launched a joint investigation after a caravan went up in flames at Thorney Bay Village, in Thorney Bay Road, Canvey.

The inferno spread quickly, damaging two neighbouring static caravans and an outdoor play equipment.

The blaze came as park owners work closely with the fire service to get an enforcement notice lifted.

Three crews from Canvey and Rayleigh Weir were called at about 8.30pm on Sunday, after patrolling police spotted the blaze.

One resident, who did not want to be named, said: “It was chaos. People did not knowwhat to do.

“The firefighters did an amazing job to stop it spreading more than it did, but if the caravans weren’t so close together it could have been contained better. Something needs to be done to improve park security.

“This is starting to become a serious problem. It’s just lucky no one was hurt.’’ The caravan where the blaze started was unoccupied. Neighbouring homes were quickly evacuated.

Nigel Dilley, divisional fire officer, said: “Both of Canvey’s crews were there within minutes and their quick response prevented the fire from spreading to other caravans.

“Crews did an excellent job in getting the fire surrounded quickly and that prevented it from spreading.’’ Firefighters used three hose reel jets and one main jet to put the flames out within an hour. They remained at the park into the night damping down and making the area safe.

A police spokesman: “A joint police and fire service investigation has been launched.

“Officers on routine patrol came across an unoccupied caravan alight and contacted the fire service.’’ The site’s owners were unavailable for comment.