12 families were evacuated from their Essex homes last night after a wood yard went up in flames. About 50 firefighters tackled the blaze in Grays, which began at about 6 o'clock in the evening. Power to nearby houses was cut, and 40 people were taken to a local library for shelter

40 people were evacuated Credit: Essex Fire and Rescue Service

Crews faced a real inferno when they arrived at the scene - the corner plot where the shop and yard stood was radiating heat and smoke with the contents of the yard fuelled by a whole range of flammable liquids.

12 families were evacuated to a nearby library Credit: Essex Fire and Rescue Service
The timber yard has been ruined by the fire Credit: Essex Fire and Rescue Service