The much-loved Busy Bees, that uses the building just by Bluehouse Farm Community Centre, has suffered a disastrous fire.
The alarm was raised around 2.20 this afternoon and responded to by appliances from across South Essex, including an aerial platform and the mobile command unit.
The adjoining social club was evacuated. No-one was in the pre-school at the time of the outbreak. But the bystanders witnessed a fierce fire with flames licking through the grey smoke as the roof gradually disintegrated.
Those who have worked so hard for the Pre-School could only watch, helpless and forlorn. But the spirit in which the much needed Pre-School was founded will surely re-emerge and drive a rebuild and restart.
The Incident Commander found the fire to be in the roof space which was 80 percent alight. Crews wearing breathing apparatus fought the fire in a determined bid to prevent its spread to the Bluehouse Farm Community Centre.
Shortly before four o’ clock, fire crews using the aerial ladder platform were able to reach and gradually subdue the fire. Four appliances were able to be freed, while four stayed on as the crews overcame the flames and began to damp down the site of the blaze.
The firefighters used four main jets, two hose reel jets and the aerial ladder platform to overcome the blaze. However, by 6.00 pm it remained for the crew of one appliance to stay on to deal with any remaining hotspots.
The cause of the fire is unknown at present. Essex County Fire & Rescue and the police will carry out an investigation.
For Ros Connors’ audio report from the scene