Plumber hurt in blowtorch fire in Westcliff

A plumber is being treated for burns after fumes from a floor adhesive were ignited by his blowtorch at flats in Essex.

The fire service said they happened to be "just around the corner" and were flagged down when the fire broke out at Fairfax Drive, Westcliff, at 14:45 GMT.

Three other people suffered the effects of smoke inhalation.

The fire was out by 15:20 and the plumber was taken to hospital by air ambulance, the fire service said.

Assistant divisional officer Martyn Hodder said: "The fire was in the hallway of a range of terraced homes which have been converted into flats.

"There is a central hallway with four flats coming off it.

"Men had been working in a bathroom on the ground floor. They had been laying new lino and had left an uncovered container of adhesive in the hallway.

"The hallway had filled with fumes from the adhesive which were ignited when a plumber came in and lit a blowtorch.

"One crew went upstairs and led two people to safety, another tackled the fire while another crew carried a disabled man and his oxygen tanks out of a downstairs flat."

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