Video taken by Kevin Buck shows the fire burning fiercely as crews arrived.
Firefighters are tackling a large fire in a warehouse which is sending clouds of smoke across nearby homes.
At its height more than 80 firefighters were at the scene of the fire at an industrial area in Progress Road, Eastwood, a suburb of Southend.
The unit contained a car mechanics and a timber merchants which made containing the fire a challenge.
ITV Anglia's Hannah Pettifer sent this report from the scene.
Dan Partridge, Group Manager for Essex Fire and Rescue, said: "We had a mixture of units within the main building itself from a car mechanics to woodworking, so the fire loading was particularly high
"We also had a process where they made whisky barrels as well so a lot of wood loading, no whisky, no chemicals involved, so it kept the firefighters very busy on the initial attendance."
Essex Fire and Rescue said they were called at 7:15am with multiple calls coming in from the public as a plume of smoke rose over the city.
Six crews were sent to the scene initially but four more followed, as well as two aerial adder platforms, a water bowser and an incident command unit.
A spokesman for Essex Fire said: "A large warehouse - measuring approximately 20 metres by 10 metres - is on fire and crews are working to contain the fire.
"There is a lot of smoke coming from the scene, if you live or work nearby, please keep your windows and doors closed."
By 10am the fire service said the blaze was being brought under control as crews fought it from above and from the ground, though the roof of the building collapsed.
People living nearby are being warned that road closures may be in place for the rest of the day while fire crews remain at the scene.
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