Lit firework sets car ablaze in Earls Colne

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Media captionVideo footage shows a car on fire, after it was set ablaze by a lit firework

A car went up in flames after a lit firework was thrown underneath.

The silver Renault Megane was set ablaze while parked on the High Street in Earls Colne, Essex.

Fierce heat from the blaze shattered windows in neighbouring buildings and a family had to be evacuated from an upstairs flat.

Colin Abbott, owner of ABCO Insurance Services, said: "Five minutes longer and the whole building would have gone up."

Image copyright Colin Abbott
Image caption Police have said they believe a firework was dropped under the parked Renault Megane car
Image copyright Colin Abbott
Image caption The car ignited into a ball of flames outside a 12th Century timber-framed building, said Mr Abbott
Image copyright Colin Abbott
Image caption Intense heat from the blaze "blistered tens of layers of paint" on ABCO's shop front

Flames engulfed the car, which belonged to a nearby resident, outside Mr Abbott's firm at 23:10 GMT on Saturday.

He rushed to the scene after receiving a string of calls from locals.

"It wasn't a dramatic explosion but you could hear the car's tyres popping, then the glass," he said.

"There was a lodger upstairs with two young children and the little boy is now frightened of popping sounds."

Image copyright Colin Abbott
Image caption Mr Abbott said the fire took up to 40 minutes to bring under control
Image copyright Colin Abbott
Image caption The fierce blaze caused cracks in nearby windows

Essex Fire and Rescue Service said it was at the scene within 22 minutes of receiving the call.

Mr Abbott said: "If it had taken any longer then about half a dozen fire tenders would have been needed - we're talking of a place that is a 12th Century timber framed building - it could have been a major fire.

"I'm pleased there were no casualties in any shape or form."

Essex Police is investigating.

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