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Two Essex homes catch fire after being struck by lightning

Forked lightning on Saturday evening in Colchester, Essex. Credit: Peter Burns

Two houses in Basildon in Essex have caught fire after being struck by lightning.

Four fire crews were called to tackle the flames after the bolts started a blaze in the loft space of the homes.

Essex Fire and Rescue Service said the fire in Brimsdown Avenue started around 8.10pm on Saturday evening and was extinguished after 20 minutes.

No one was injured.

Basildon Hospital out of special measures

Basildon Hospital is being taken out of special measures.

Health regulator Monitor said the hospital had improved its services for patients and rated it "good" following a full inspection by the Care Quality Commission.

The hospital was one of 11 put into special measures last July for fundamental breaches of care. It's since made a number of improvements, including taking on more staff and getting better feedback from patients.

Local MP Stephen Metcalfe has welcomed the news.

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Conservatives lose Basildon and UKIP replace Labour as main opposition

UKIP made 11 gains on Basildon Council Credit: ITV News Anglia

UKIP made big gains in Basildon to sweep the Conservatives out of power for the first time in a decade and replace Labour as the main opposition party.

The Conservative leader of the council, Tony Ball, who was high profile during the campaign to evict travellers from the Dale Farm site, lost his Wickford North seat to UKIP.

UKIP win a second seat in Basildon taking a Lib Dem seat

UKIP have made a second gain in Basildon taking a seat won by the Liberal Democrats in 2010. Kerry Smith won in the Nethermayne ward.

Before these elections the Conservatives had a small overall majority in the Essex town but that looks under threat.

UKIP make a gain on Basildon Council

UKIP have gained a seat from the Conservatives in Basildon.

The Conservative won Pitsea North West in 2010 with a majority of 146 - now UKIP have taken the ward.

The Tories are defending a narrow majority in the town.

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Mother and daughter injured in crash with police car

The crash happened in Bowers Gifford, near Basildon. Credit: ITV News Anglia.

A mother and her five-year-old daughter have been injured in a crash with a police car which was pursuing another vehicle.

It happened on Sunday close to the Sadlers Farm junction at Bowers Gifford near Basildon.

The female driver of a silver Audi A3 was taken to hospital with serious leg and chest injuries. Her daughter suffered minor neck injuries. The girl's father was injured.

Two police officers, who were travelling in a marked police BMW 530, were also taken to hospital.

Essex Police said the officers had been responding to an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) activation. The car's blue lights and siren were on.

Family made homeless after Essex house fire

Firefighters at the scene Credit: Essex Fire Service

A family has been left homeless following a fire in Basildon in Essex today.

The fire broke out at around 10am this morning in Mellow Purgess.

Crews from Basildon, Brentwood and Orsett wee called to the scene. The roof of the house was partially destroyed. The blaze was out by around 12:30pm.

Fire and Police officers will carry out an investigation to establish the cause of the fire.

House fire Credit: Essex Fire Service
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