A FIRE at a disused car workshop in Westcliff on Friday night is being treated as arson, police have confirmed.

The blaze at the Cars 4 All site on London Road, near the Co-op supermarket, created scenes of chaos that’s left a boxing club devastated and saw a police officer assaulted by a member of the public.


The road between West Road and Ramuz Road was shut as eight fire crews tackled the blaze.
The fire started around 8pm, and took over two hours to be extinguished.

The Westcliff Boxing Academy, which backs onto the site, has been badly affected by smoke damage and flooding from the hoses. The Co-op was evacuated and suffered slight smoke damage as a result of the blaze.

One eyewitness, Hildaville Drive resident Paul Pryde, said: "I could see the flames coming out of the top of the building. It looked really serious.

"There were many police and fire crews there. There were loads of people on the pavement opposite as fire fighters fought the blaze.

"At one point, I thought it was going to spread to the Co-op, but they seemed to get it all under control quickly, which was a real credit to them."

A police spokesperson said: “Officers from Southend CID are now investigating the fire which is being treated as arson until the cause can be established.

“Anyone with information should contact DI Julie Gowen or colleagues at Southend CID on 101, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111."

See the full report and more pictures in Monday’s Echo.