Video & Gallery: Homes evacuated during Elsenham blaze

PEOPLE were evacuated from their homes and trains were brought to a standstill as firefighters tackled a blaze in Elsenham. The flames tore through an industrial unit in Fullers End late last night and continued into Thursday morning. A 200-metre hazard z

PEOPLE were evacuated from their homes and trains were brought to a standstill as firefighters tackled a blaze in Elsenham.

The flames tore through an industrial unit in Fullers End late last night and continued into Thursday morning.

A 200-metre hazard zone was set up around the blaze after crews feared that highly volatile acetylene cylinders might be involved.

Neighbour Denise Shipp said: "It was like watching a fireworks display - the flames towered into the sky and the wind was pushing them onto the train line.


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"I had seen an orange glow from my house but when I got outside I couldn't believe it. There were several explosions and one flying bit of wood nearly hit me on the head."

The hazard zone was lifted when crews discovered that the gas cylinders contained argon and not acetylene. An industrial unit as well as more than 20 cars were destroyed in the blaze.

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Newport firefighter Neil Byford said: "It was well alight when we got there and the flames could be seen from Newport. The radiated heat had set fire to the cars opposite the blaze.

"We couldn't get too close to the fire because of the gas cylinders and we had to put water on from a distance. While we were doing this there were two or three explosions.

"We had to stop the trains because the flames had brought down the overhead power lines."

More than 20 firefighters from Stansted, Newport and Dunmow tackled the blaze from just after 11pm to 2am the following morning. A crew from Saffron Walden stayed at the scene throughout the night to make sure it did not catch again.

Fire investigation officers remain at the scene today (Thursday) to try and establish how the cause of the fire.

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