Fire destroys Langdon Hills Triangle shopping parade

Fire at The Triangle in Langdon Hills, Basildon
Image caption Alcohol caused a few small explosions within the building

Four shops have been destroyed in a "devastating" fire at a shopping parade involving a series of small explosions.

The fire at The Triangle in Langdon Hills, Basildon, which included a hair salon and convenience store, started just before 14:00 GMT.

Essex Fire and Rescue said they fought the flames from several angles which included using special platform to douse the fire with water from above.

Firefighters expect to "damp down" at the site for most of the night.

Divisional officer Mark Earwicker said: "When crews arrived they were faced with a well developed fire in the roof of the building, which quickly spread across the centre which houses three units.

"The fire involved a number canisters and a quantity of alcohol which caused a few small explosions within the building, nothing which caused us any real problems."

As the roof collapsed into the building it created "pockets of fire" which proved "hard for crews to get at", he said.

Image caption The fire service said 60% of the roof was alight when they arrived at the scene

Speaking earlier, witness Marjorie Jackson said: "There are flames coming from the roof all of the way down. There is very black smoke.

"Things keep dropping off and sending up showers of sparks. It is absolutely devastating."

Nobody was hurt as a result of the fire.

Mr Earwicker added: "It was a very serious fire and there is now a high level investigation to establish the cause.

"The most significant problem with the fire was the roof structure as it got into the roof and spread through the building."

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