A FIRE at a Westcliff church on Monday morning is now being treated as a suspected arson attack.
Police are now appealing for information about the fire at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Northview Drive after investigations have indicated that it was started deliberately.
A fireman at the scene on Monday.
There were fears that the fire could have spread to neighbouring properties and 12 people were evacuated from their homes.
Police were called just after 4.10am to reports of an alarm going off in the building, before reports of smoke billowing from the building were made.
A police spokesman said: “Police have been liaising with the Fire Service over the cause of the blaze and believe that it was started deliberately.”
Anyone who saw any suspicious behaviour nearby at the time or who has any other information of relevance is asked to call DC Mike Buckingham at Southend Police Station on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.