Upminster fire update: “It looked like a fireworks display”

A whole container full of fireworks went up in flames after a blaze at a garden centre on Saturday.

More than 60 firefighters from Havering’s fire stations and other parts of London attended the 11 pump fire at Hardy’s Garden Centre on the A127 on Southend Arterial Road, Upminster on Saturday October 8.

Crews from Harold Hill fire station received calls to the blaze around 2.45pm.

When they arrived at the scene fireworks were already being released and they put a call out for back up crews from other parts of London.

It took more than six hours for firefighters to bring the fire under control using a water jet and specialist breathing equyipment.

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Havering police officers also attended where road closures were put in place on the A127 and the M25 and the surrounding area.

Firefighter Stephen West said: “When we arrived at the scene, the fireworks were completely going off and it looked like a fireworks display.

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“The fire was spreading very quickly so the biggest problem for us was to stop it spreading to a neighbouring houses and the the woodland nearby.”

Resident Jonathan Barker was on his way home when he saw the blaze.

He said: “I could just see all the smoke and flames bellowing out from the sky.

“It was quite scary and I was worried because I knew that they had fireworks at the centre.”

The garden centre, which also houses an acquatic centre was believed to be selling the fireworks in preparation for Bonfire Night.

More than 80% of the garden centre has been destroyed by the fire.

There was also damage to five cars, a JCB digger and three cyclinders nearby.

Firefighters were also on the scene the following day (Sunday October 9) making sure the area was safe.

The London Fire Brigade have issued a list of advice to business storing fireworks in the run up to the Bonfire Night celebrations.

Trevor Meers, London Fire Brigade’s Borough Commander for Havering said: “I urge all residents to be extremely careful when handling or storing fireworks. If you are storing fireworks at home make sure they are kept dry and away from any sources of heat or ignition.”

For more information please go to http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/BonfiresAndFireworks.asp#law

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