Hangar on fire by Southend Airport runway

Image source, George Butcher
Image caption, Eyewitnesses have reported seeing "thick black smoke" billowing from a hangar

A fire has broken out in a hangar by an airport runway.

Eyewitnesses have reported seeing "thick black smoke" billowing from the hangar understood to be at the far end of the runway at Southend Airport.

Six fire crews tackled the blaze after it was reported at about 10:40 BST on Wednesday.

It is understood aircraft have continued to land and take off despite the fire, though the airport itself is yet to comment.

Eyewitness Jade Hodges said: "The fire is still ongoing and there is still smoking coming from there."

She said contrary to some reports, she had not heard an explosion.

An investigation into the cause is under way, though it is thought it was started accidentally, the fire service said.

No planes were inside the hangar at the time, it added.

Image source, Essex Fire Service
Image caption, Six fire crews are currently at the scene
Image source, Essex Fire and Rescue
Image caption, About 40 firefighters were involved in tackling the flames
Image source, Luke TS Osborne Photography
Image caption, The smoke from the airport could be seen billowing above Southend

An Essex Fire Service spokesman said: "When firefighters arrived at the scene they reported the large hangar, which is used to livery aeroplanes, was on fire.

"Firefighters are using a aerial ladder platform to pour water on the large building from above.

"The officer in charge at the incident reports crews are making good progress."

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