A FUNDRAISING page has been set up after nine families lost their homes in a devastating flat block fire.

Fire crews were scrambled to Littlecroft in South Woodham Ferrers on Monday afternoon after the roof of a block of flats caught fire at approximately 3.25pm.

Six engines attended the scene to tackle the blaze. It was under control by 5pm and extinguished by 6pm.

It is understood nine families have had their homes destroyed, with a further 26 families not being able to access their home due to the structural damage caused.

Several residents were evacuated, including three who suffered minor injuries. Crews also rescued several pets from the block. There have been no reported deaths.

A JustGiving page has been set up by Kerry Linehan to raise £10,000 to support the fire victims.

Ms Linehan wrote: “The community is coming together to help but if anyone can spare a few pound for the JustGiving page that’s been set up for them or donate any clothing, household items, toiletries or support of any kind it would be great.

“Items for donation are being taken to the Town Crier pub for storage. The Oaklands have a few rooms available for people to stay FOC.

“This is absolutely devastating and I do hope that everyone affected are all ok.”

On arrival firefighters reported that the roof was 50 per cent alight and began tackling the fire from ground level and above.

A fire service spokesman said: “Wind conditions meant that the fire spread quickly to four neighbouring properties within the block.

“Firefighters worked hard to create a fire stop, meaning they contained and limited the spread any further. “At 5pm firefighters reported that the fire was under control, but expect it to be some time before it was completely extinguished.

“At 6pm the Incident Commander reported that the fire had been extinguished and crews would remain on scene into the evening to check for hotspots.”

The building has suffered severe fire damage, and an investigation into the cause is now underway.

Essex Police confirmed that it is carrying out a joint investigation with the fire service to determine the cause.

The ambulance service has been approached for comment.

The fundraising page has so far raised more than £1,000.

To donate, click here.