Lorries containing 45,000 litres of fuel burst into flames on industrial estate

Firefighters battled to put out a massive fire after five lorries containing 45,000 litres of fuel burst into flames at an industrial estate.

Police were also at the scene to provide a safe cordon around the incident and launched the force helicopter to assist during the incident on Wednesday night.

Describing the incident Bryan Stracey, 43, a tanker driver who was parked in a yard behind the fire said: “It was the biggest fire I’ve ever seen.

“The flames were shooting 80 to 100ft in the air and that’s being conservative.

“There were a couple of smaller bangs and then there were two absolutely huge ones.

“They sounded just like bombs exploding.”

An investigation is being launched into the cause of the incident which took place in Purfleet, Essex.

Martyn Hare, the incident commander, said: “When we arrived at the incident we found all five fuel lorries well alight.

“The smoke could been seen from miles away, and we immediately ordered our specialist appliances including the foam unit to help tackle the fire.

“A total of five fuel lorries were involved with the fire.

“One lorry was empty, the other four lorries had a combined load of 45,000 litres of fuel (diesel and kereosene).

“Firefighters managed to extinguish the fire extremely quickly. We used foam to tackle the fire as it forms a blanket like cover over the fire and suffocates it which helps to extinguish it quickly.

“Once the fire was extinguished and we had extinguished most of the hot spots we were able to reduce the number of fire engines at the scene.

“An investigation will take place to establish the cause of the fire”.

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