Four people have been made homeless following a blaze in Basildon that spread across six houses.
The fire broke out in the block of timber-framed properties on the Felmore estate in Winstree yesterday afternoon.
Four people - two adults and two children - were taken to Basildon Hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.
Assistant Divisional Officer Dave Moore said: "The fire started in one home and spread through the roof to affect five other homes.
"The buildings are timber framed and timber clad and that presented a real problem to crews, but thanks to the hard work and professionalism they prevented this fire from spreading further and destroying many more homes."
The fire has sparked anger among residents who have been burned out of their homes in the past. In 2009 eight properties on the same estate were destroyed by a blaze which was started by vandals. They say more needs to be done to protect the timber framed buildings from fire hazards.