NEIGHBOURS watched on in horror when a fire broke out just next to their back garden in Rayleigh.

Fire crews arrived quickly and rushed to the scene at The Chase, where they discovered a shed had caught fire and quickly spread to nearby trees.

The fire service later revealed that this was caused by a bonfire which had spread out of control.

Jude Bennett and his family of Gilbert Close alerted the fire service.

The 21-year-old, said: "It was really scary as I'd never seen flames that high and so close before. The tree went up so fast that I was worried it would spread across to our garden

"My sister, Maddy who first saw the fire and told us all, said that she thought it was just a bonfire first and then didn't take any notice but then looked back and saw it was now way bigger and felt very scared."

Southend Standard: Pic: Jude BennettPic: Jude Bennett

Jude praised the fire service for their quick response.

He, added: "The fire department were fantastic, we phoned them and they arrived in under five minutes."

Other residents also saw huge flames billowing across Rayleigh.

Southend Standard: Pic: Jude BennettPic: Jude Bennett

The fire control room received 30 calls about the incident.

A spokesman for Essex Fire Service, said: "Fire Control received almost 30 calls reporting a fire in Rayleigh this afternoon (Wednesday 15 July).

"When firefighters arrived at the incident, they reported that it was a shed on fire. The shed measured approximately 6m x 8m. 

"Firefighters managed to extinguish the fire by 6pm. They then made sure the affected area was completely cooled before leaving."