A DERELICT building on Westcliff seafront was engulfed by fire last night.

Six fire crews from across south Essex, aided by an aerial ladder platform, tackled thick smoke and searing heat in the blaze in The Leas, Westcliff, last night.

Firefighters were called to the scene at 11.03pm last night, responding to reports that a fire had broken out in the roof of a three-storey building. 

Seven fire crews in total were rushed to the incident, two from Southend, one from Leigh, one from Rayleigh, one from Rochford, one from Basildon, and once from Grays with an aerial ladder platform to allow firefighters to reach the flames.


Photo: Mike Batson

On arrival, firefighters reported that reported that around half of the semi-detached building's roof space was alight.

At 12.30am, the incident commander reported that the roof remained well alight, and that the fire had spread to the first floor.

In order to tackle the blaze, the incident was divided into three sections to allow firefighters to effectively surround the fire. 

At around 1.30am, the aerial ladder platform from Grays was used to allow them to tackle the roof space and spray water on the building from a height. 


Photo: Mike Batson

By 2.30am, the incident was scaled down due to the fire being under control. Three fire engines remained at the scene, while fire crews dampened down hotspots within the roof of the building. 

Incident Commander Craig McLellan said: "Firefighters have responded incredibly well tonight to prevent what could have easily become a very intense fire that spread to neighbouring properties.

"While this building has been derelict for some years, the properties adjacent to it are occupied and crews have overcome very difficult circumstances to prevent them being badly damaged."


Photo: Mike Batson

Essex Police officers also assisted at the scene with traffic control due to the proximity of the road.

A spokesperson from Essex Police said: "We were contacted by the fire service shortly after 11.15pm on Friday, May 18, with reports of a fire at a derelict building in The Leas, Westcliff.

"Officers assisted with closing the road while firefighters dealt with the blaze.

"The fire service is not treating the fire as suspicious."