FIREFIGHTERS have issued an update as they remain at the scene of a large blaze at a former south Essex restaurant and bar.

Crews have been working to surround the fire at the former Reids Bar in Laindon Road, Billericay, and extinguish it in sections. 

The blaze broke out at 6.33am with ten crews called to the scene due to the amount of smoke, with the fire spreading to the roof of the building and towards a neighbouring building.

Firefighters have remained at the scene and are now in a position to scale this incident down to six crews.

The fire service will continue to use two Aerial Ladder Platforms to extinguish hotspots in the roof. Residents are still being advised to avoid the area if they can, as firefighters expect to be at the incident for a "few more hours".

Group manager Craig McLellan said: “Initial crews acted quickly to request further crews and this has helped us to prevent the fire spreading to adjoining buildings.

“We expect to remain on scene for a few hours while we extinguish remaining hotspots and carry out a fire investigation into the cause of the fire. 

“Please avoid the area if you can and thank you for your patience.”