AROUND 30 people were evacuated from a block of flats, with most now homeless, after fire tore through a top floor property.

Three crews of firefighters spent almost three hours battling the flames in a three-storey block of flats in Harberd Tye in the early hours of Saturday morning.

No one was injured and all the property's residents were accounted for. Yet they have been left homeless after the blaze left the flat completely gutted.

The Red Cross was called to help those affected. The block is a housing association building.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of the fire, which broke out at around 1.55am.

Sub Officer Syd Barrett, from Chelmsford Fire Station, said: "When crews arrived, there was a well developed fire in the roof void of the block which had broken through the roof of the building. The fire did not spread to an adjacent block.

"We made sure the entire building had been evacuated. In all, around 30 people escaped safely from the building but none of them will be able to return because of the damage caused.

"Crews were hampered by a poor water supply but were able to use the aerial ladder platform to good effect to douse the fire from above.

"We had the incident under control by around 3.30am and continued using the ALP to damp it down and extinguish the fire for around another hour-and-a-half."

Chelmsford Weekly News: Flat fire aftermath

The aftermath of the fire [Pic courtesy of Essex Fire and Rescue Service]