Witham fire: Police investigating Essex barn blaze as suspected arson attack seek three teenage boys

The fire engulfed the barn in Witham, Essex Credit: Essex County Fire and Rescue

A large barn fire that prompted children to be evacuated from a nearby event is being treated as arson. 

Essex Police have launched an appeal seeking three teenage boys they wish to speak to following the incident.

The fire, at a barn on Hatfield Road in Witham in Essex, destroyed three outbuildings, a derelict bungalow and damaged vehicles.

It also closed the A12 road for some time.

As smoke billowed through the countryside, firefighters were worried the blaze would spread, with at least eight crews trying to prevent the fire from moving to a nearby cornfield and electrical substation. 

Fire crews remain at the scene to investigate the fire Credit: Essex Fire and Rescue

“This was a devastating fire which has destroyed the barn and could easily have posed a very real risk to life,” Detective Inspector Jamie Stirland, of Essex Police, said. 

He added the force were now on the lookout for a group of teenagers.

“In particular, I need to identify and speak to three boys seen leaving the area at around the time the fire started.”

The boys are described as white, in their early teens with brown hair, and one wearing a white t-shirt.

Emergency services first arrived on scene at 5pm on Monday 11 July, and remain in the area carrying out an investigation.

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