A rest centre has been opened at the Jack Silley Pavilion at Stonards Hill, for residents affected by a fire earlier this morning.
Town and District Council staff are working with councillors to support residents of the flats in Woodland Grove where fire took hold earlier today.
Councillor Chris Whitbread, Leader of Epping Forest District Council spoke from the scene. He said:
Our hearts go out to everyone involved. There has been extensive damage to the block. But for the swift action by Essex Fire and Rescue it would certainly have been worse.
Parts of the block are clearly uninhabitable at the moment and we are working with Epping Town Council to set up a temporary rest centre at the Jack Silley Pavilion while people take stock of the situation.”
Housing officers from Epping Forest District Council are on the scene to help. This is a private block of flats but we will make sure everyone has a roof over their head before the end of the day.”
A spokesperson for Epping Forest District Council added:
Epping Forest District Council has put its resources at the disposal of the emergency services. While housing officers are on the scene to help displaced residents, building control officers will help Essex Fire and Rescue determine the safety of the structure later. Woodland Grove has been closed to traffic.
The Police and Fire Services are asking people to avoid the area if possible. Essex Fire and Rescue will be working at the scene for some time as the seek to establish the cause of the fire.
Updated 21/06/2020 12:53 pm
Essex Police has confirmed that a man has sadly died following the fire at a flat in Woodland Grove, Epping. They were called by Essex Fire and Rescue Service at 7am today, Sunday 21 June who were attending the blaze and found the body of a man. Next of kin have been informed.
Councillor Chris Whitbread said:
I am so sorry to hear that a man has died. This is a terrible tragedy. Our prayers and best wishes go out to his family, friends and neighbours. I am sure I speak for all residents and councillors in offering our thoughts and condolences.
Update from Essex Fire and Rescue Service 21/06/2020 17:00 pm
A fire investigation has now taken place and the cause of the fire has been recorded as accidental.
Fire Investigator Mark Earwicker said:
Earlier reports suggested this fire started on the ground floor of the block of flats, however, I can confirm it started in a top floor flat before spreading to the roof and adjoining building.
Following our fire investigation we now know that the fire started in the open plan kitchen lounge area. We have recorded the cause as accidental but because of the extent of fire damage in the flat it’s difficult to determine exactly how the fire started.
We believe this was a tragic accident where a man sadly lost his life, and, over the coming days and weeks, we will be working hard to spread our safety messages and offer reassurance and advice to residents.
As always, our message to every single person in the county is to make sure they have a working smoke alarm on every level of their home. It will alert you to the first sign of fire and give you more time to get out, stay out and call 999.