FIREFIGHTERS were forced to wait for “inconsiderate” drivers to move their cars in Basildon.

Essex Fire Service were called to a fire in a ground floor flat at the end of Grapnells, Basildon, but could not reach it due to cars being parked on the pavement at the corners of the junction.

Residents in the surrounding area stated the fire engine had to wait for several minutes before the cars were moved.

Firefighters eventually managed to get to the flat fire and extinguish it by 10pm on Sunday. No one was injured, and the cause has not yet been determined

Peter Gibson, 66, a resident of Grapnells and a retired firefighter, said: “I was sitting at home when all of a sudden I hear the sirens and see the blue lights coming by.

“Then they managed to get stuck at the entrance to the road where the fire was. People had parked their cars right up to the edge of the corners on the pavement.

“They must have been there for several minutes. Loads of the people on the road came out to see what was happening, they had their sirens on for that time.

“Eventually the drivers came out and moved them, but this could have been so much more serious.

“If the fire had been worse and people were trapped, it could have cost lives.”

Mr Gibson added: “Parking is getting worse around the area, loads of people bring their commercial vehicles home and park on the pavement. It’s not safe and it’s damaging the surfaces.”

Justin Lockerbie, Fire investigator, said: “While on their way to this incident in Basildon, our firefighters were delayed for some time due to inconsiderate parking.

“We don’t believe that anyone wants to delay us when we are called to an incident, but people often don’t consider how their parking can slow down a fire engine or crews.

“You might only plan to be parked somewhere for a few minutes, but that few minutes could make all the difference.

“Please, be considerate about how and where you park and think – could a fire engine easily get through?”