A 60-flat sheltered housing block was evacuated overnight after a huge fire ripped through the roof.

Fire crews were called to Queens Park Court in Goldington Crescent, Billericay at 11.50pm on Sunday night.

Neighbours looked on in shock as emergency services rushed to evacuate the building.

All the residents were unhurt, with nine now housed in a hotel and others staying with loved ones.

A spokesman for the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: “Crews were called to the property after automatic fire alarms were going off, and on arrival found that the roof space in an area which is undergoing renovation was on fire.

“Firefighters worked with accommodation staff and police officers to safely evacuate all residents shortly after the fire was identified.

“By 3am crews had removed roof tiles to put the fire out in sections.

“The two storey building has been left 20 per cent damaged by the fire.”

Firefighters managed to extinguish the fire at 5.45am and remained on site to monitor for hotspots throughout the day on Monday, and also investigated the cause of the fire.

The sheltered accommodation is managed by Sempra Homes, Basildon Council’s own housing company.

A spokesman for Basildon Council said: “All residents were evacuated uninjured from Queens Park Court sheltered housing scheme after a fire broke out on Sunday night.

“The majority of residents are staying with family and friends, while nine residents have been temporarily housed in a nearby hotel.

“Council officers are identifying available temporary accommodation in case this is required, and will be on site to assess damage caused by the fire and provide support and communication with all residents, as soon as the fire service have finished responding to the incident.”

The cause of the fire remains unknown.