Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Large industrial unit fire

Perry Road, Harlow
11/11/2020 @ 00:33
Incident Number: 134293
In attendance: 2 x Harlow, 1 x Loughton, 1 x Waltham Abbey, 1 x Epping, 1 x Old Harlow, 1 x Basildon (Incident Command Unit), 1 x Chelmsford (Aerial Ladder Platform), 1 x Sawbridgeworth (Herts Fire Service - HFS), 1 x Hoddesdon (HFS)

Firefighters were called to the scene of a large fire at an industrial unit in Harlow.

Crews reported on arrival that the unit, which is two storeys and measures approximately 60 metres by 40 metres, was completely alight.

If you live or work nearby, please keep your doors and windows closed due to the volume of smoke. Please also avoid the area if you can.

UPDATE 1:30pm (Thurs 12 Nov) - All firefighters have now left the scene. Local crews will re-visit the scene to ensure that the scene is still safe. An investigation to find the cause of the fire will take place.

UPDATE 11am (Thurs 12 Nov) - Station Manager Tim Rickard said:

"We have just reduced our crews to just one fire engine who will remain at the scene monitoring hot spots this morning. There is still a small amount of smoke being produced, but firefighters are monitoring this carefully. The single fire crew will likely remain at the site for the rest of the day, and after that we will then make regular re-visits to ensure that the scene in still safe. The site will be left in the responsibilty of the owners.

"All local roads which were closed due to the fire are now re-opened and all local businesses have returned to work. The local school affected will be able to re-open tomorrow (Friday 13 November)".

UPDATE 9.30pm - Four fire crews now remain at the scene. The incident is now being scaled down with firefighters managing a controlled burn of parts of the structure.

Crews are continuing to use an aerial ladder platform to spray water on the site from above.


UPDATE 5.30pm - Dan Kirk, Incident Commander, has provided the latest update regarding the nearby school, Stewards Academy.

"After working closely today with the headteacher of Stewards Academy, the local council, the Environment Agency and Essex Police, a decision has been taken to keep the academy closed tomorrow (Thursday 12 November).

"While good progress is continuing to be made in extinguishing the remainder of this fire, an easterly wind is expected to begin carrying the smoke in the direction of the school site shortly.

"The safety of the local community continues to be our priority, which is why we have taken this decision now as a precautionary measure. Thank you once again to the parents and pupils for their patience and support - we are working hard to make this area safe as soon as we can."


UPDATE 4.30pm - Dan Kirk, who is now leading the incident, said: “Seven new crews took over at 4pm. The building has been badly damaged and there continues to be significant hotspots within the structure that firefighters are tackling.

“Crews are doing an excellent job given the scale of this fire, but we expect to be here well into this evening before the scene can be made safe.

“While firefighting continues I’m afraid that there will continue to be some smoke, but we have now safely reduced the cordon to just include the industrial estate. We are working with the Environment Agency to regularly test the quality of the air. Your safety is what matters most: so if you live nearby, please continue to stay indoors and keep your windows and doors closed.

“I’d like to thank local residents for their patience. We are doing everything we can to make the area safe as soon as possible.”

UPDATE 12.45pm - Update from Paul Chipperfield, who is leading the incident:

"Firefighters are continuing to make good progress in challenging conditions. The fire is under control and crews have done a fantastic job.

"We are continuing to work alongside the local authority, Essex Police, the ambulance service and the site owners to make the scene safe. We expect to be here for some time to monitor and extinguish remaining hotspots. Once the building has cooled fully, we will then be able to hand the area over to the owners and local council.

"If you live or work nearby, please continue to stay inside for now with your windows and doors closed to avoid the effects of the smoke. Thank you once again for your continued patience."


UPDATE 10:15am - Martyn Hare, Incident Commander, has provided an update.

“We’re making good progress at this incident and crews have the fire surrounded to stop it spreading through the rest of the building.

"We’re working closely with a number of agencies to manage this incident including the police, ambulance service, council and the site owners and will remain at the scene throughout the day to monitor hotspots. I want to thank everyone working hard to resolve this incident and want to thank everyone affected for their continued patience.

“If you live in the area, please continue to keep your windows and doors shut. For anyone travelling nearby, please avoid the area."

UPDATE 7.30am - Martyn Hare, Incident Commander, has provided an update.

"Firefighters have worked hard through the night to surround and then control this fire, which took hold of this building very quickly.

"As firefighting has continued, the level of smoke has increased. Because of that, we have agreed with partners including Essex Police, the local authorities and the Environment Agency to implement a safety cordon of around a mile radius.

"This means that, for safety reasons, a nearby school and some local businesses will be temporarily closed. The local authority is engaging with the school, parents and business owners. Essex Police is also working with people who live on the nearby residential area to advise them to keep their windows and doors closed.

"I'd like to thank everyone affected by this incident for their patience and support - we are working hard to make the site safe as soon as we can. In the meantime, please continue to avoid the area."

Click here to read the statement from Steward's Academy (the school affected).

UPDATE 6am - Firefighters have reported that the fire is now under control. Crews are working alongside local authorities and the police to establish a strategy for the next 24 hours, as it is likely firefighting will continue for some time, due to the scale of the fire.

UPDATE 4am - Firefighters advised that the fire is now surrounded. Due to the volume of smoke affecting the local area, a safely cordon of roughly a mile around the site will be set up to reduce access.

UPDATE 2.30am - Firefighters are continue to work hard to control the fire. Good progress is being made.


** This is a live incident. Further updates will be added here as they become available. **


Incident Images

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