Robust emergency procedures and quick action from officers from Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Thurrock Council officers meant that not a single person was injured as the result of a fire in a seventh floor flat in a Chadwell St Mary tower block.
The fire broke out at 5:48pm on Tuesday evening (26 June). It was contained to the flat where it started and nearly all residents were able to stay in their homes as the rest of the block suffered little or no damage.
A 'stay put' policy, as advised by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service, was put in place and the majority of residents remained in their flats throughout the incident. Fire alarms and safety equipment in the building meant that the fire was contained to one flat and smoke damage limited to the communal area immediately outside the flat where the fire occurred.
Fire crews declared the building safe at 8:30pm and residents of all but four flats were able to spend the night in their homes following the incident. Residents unable to return home have been provided temporary accommodation while new homes are found for them.
Cllr Shane Hebb, Deputy Leader of Thurrock Council, and Cllr Barry Johnson, portfolio holder for housing, were at the scene.
Cllr Hebb said: "The fact that not a single person suffered an injury and nearly all residents were back in their homes just over an hour after the fire was extinguished is a testament to how well these plans worked.
"Fires can be extremely traumatic events but any fire which does not result in a single injury or death must be viewed as a success and testament to the robust emergency plans we have in place at our properties."
Cllr Johnson said: "No one was hurt as a result of the fire in George Tilbury House yesterday and minimal damage was caused to the building despite one flat being totally destroyed. Residents were asked to 'stay put' in line with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service's policy.
"Officers throughout the council were involved in helping residents, both at the scene and working remotely, and we have received compliments from tenants about how well the incident was handled and how happy they were to be able to return home just hours after the fire struck."
Communication was carried out through social media throughout the incident and full statement was issued shortly after 10pm
As well as members and housing and emergency planning officers at the scene officers from across the council responded to this incident remotely, including members of the senior management team and the Communications team.
Officers will continue to support residents following this incident and repair work on the block will take place as a priority.