Residents in a block of flats have been praised for following advice and staying inside while a fire burned on the ground floor.

Firefighters from Southend, Leigh, Shoebury, Rayleigh and Rochford were all called to the incident in Southchurch Boulevard, Southend, just after 12.30am today.

The arrived to find a fire inside a ground floor flat which they then evacuated.

However, other residents inside the building were urged to stay inside their flats rather than leave the building.

The fire was eventually extinguished by 2am and had been contained inside a single flat.

Group Manager Mark Eaglestone said: "Our crews acted quickly to control the fire while we implemented the building's stay put policy.

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"The fire spread was contained to the single flat, although there is smoke logging in communal areas on the ground, first and second floor.

"By following the stay put policy, with residents staying in their flats and keeping their doors and windows closed, residents remained safe while we extinguished the fire.

"The building also has automatic smoke vents, which work by opening automatically when a fire is detected, and means smoke can escape out of the building rather than building up in a confined space. This assisted our crews in fighting the fire.

"Firefighters are now ventilating the building and will remain on site until it has completely cooled and is clear of smoke."

Officers will carry out an investigation into the cause of the fire later today.