Homes were evacuated after several outbuildings went up in flames.

Firefighters were called to the scene of a fire involving several outbuildings in Harwich Road, Lawford, at 12.55am this morning.

Crews reported there were four buildings involved in the fire, which measure around 36 metres by 28 metres and are used as car repair workshops, were well alight.

Due to the remote location of the buildings, the officer in charge immediately called for the support of several other fire crews to provide a vital water supply to tackle the fire.

A total of nine crews attended from Colchester, Manningtree, Clacton, Dovercourt, Frinton, Halstead and Holbrook.

As a precaution, firefighters requested that two nearby houses were evacuated.

The local authority provided support to ensure residents were kept a safe distance from the area as the road was closed off.

A spokesman for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: "At 2.24am, the officer in charge reported that the incident had been divided into areas to allow fire crews to surround the building more efficiently.

"By 3.10am, firefighters had managed to isolate the electricity supply and surround the building completely.

"At 5.16am, crews reported the fire was under control and almost completely extinguished.

"Four fire engines remained at the scene for a further hour to continue dampening down remaining hotspots."

Two fire engines remain at the scene this morning to ensure area is completely cool and there is no risk of reignition.

An investigation into what caused the fire will take place.