Emergency services and forensic teams are still at the scene in Boyce Green, Benfleet.

It is thought a man and a woman were "set on fire", although this has not been confirmed by police.

Two air ambulances, police cars, ambulances and fire engines raced to the scene of the quiet residential road.

It is thought a man entered a house armed with a machete, then set himself and a woman on fire.

One resident, who asked not to be named, said: "I didn't hear a thing. The first thing I knew about it was when I saw all the emergency service vehicles in the road.

"I've never seen so many. I thought it must be serious. I hope whoever has been hurt is ok."

A spokesman from Essex Police: "Police received reports of a fire at a property in Boyce Green, Benfleet, at around 10.50am today.

"Officers were called with reports that a man and a woman have suffered burns and have been taken to hospital in a critical condition. Enquiries are ongoing.”