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Councillor praises blitz spirit in face of inferno

PUBLISHED: 13:00 23 November 2012

The fire raged for much of the morning (photo: Essex Fire and Rescue)

The fire raged for much of the morning (photo: Essex Fire and Rescue)

Graham S Dean Photography

A Brentwood councillor has praised his neighbours for their community spirit and for rallying around during a "horrendous" fire - the biggest cooking oil fire known.

A Brentwood councillor has praised his neighbours for their community spirit and for rallying around during a “horrendous” fire – the biggest cooking oil fire known.

The blaze started in a storage container in Little Warley Hall Lane, Little Warley, at about 5.15am on Tuesday.

Essex Fire Brigade said 160,000 litres of cooking oil, 30,000 litres of diesel and 30,000 tonnes of paper had been alight at the storage yard.

The yard is believed to be owned by a neighbour who uses it to store used cooking oil collected from businesses in east London, before it is recycled for biofuel.

About 65 firefighters from a total of 15 crews spent six hours battling the blaze.

Cllr David Tee, whose house is 200 yards from where the blaze was, described it as “horrific”, but praised his neighbours, and said he felt “proud” of their attitude that day.

He said: “I had a phone call from my daughter who thought our house was on fire. All I could see was the black billowing smoke and the flames. It was a horrendous, huge fire. We saw a flame shoot up 100 feet high.”

Community sprit

He added he was pleased with neighbours who turned out to help. “When I went out at 8am there were two ladies who had been up since it started and they had been making tea for the firemen. It was a terrific community spirit and they were there all day, even when the firemen were clearing up.

“I was very proud of them and my community. Little Warley really came up trumps and it was terrific to see everyone coming out to support the firemen.

He also praised the firemen, “they were out there four hours, and were dirty and exhausted. It’s not until you see them in action that you realise how dangerous a job they do. They were great.”

Electricity and water boards and the Environment Agency were also at the scene.

Police and fire services are carrying out an investigation into the cause of the inferno.

Incident commander Divisional Officer Mark Samuels said at the time: “This is a recycling yard that recycles various types of used oils, hence the intensity of the fire.”

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