Appleford Court flats in Pitsea has been deemed unsafe and is no longer habitable aftr a huge gas explosion this afternoon.

Firefighters are continuing to work with Cadent and UK Power Network on site after the fire took hold around 2pm this afternoon.

Our Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team confirmed the whole building is structurally unsafe and no longer habitable. 

Crews are continuing to monitor hotspots and expect to be able to hand the site over to the building contractors within the next couple of hours.

>>> Read more: Gas explosion at block of flats leaves all residents homeless 

The incident commander has thanked crews and partner agencies for their hard work. 

Residents have been working with Swan Housing, who own and manage the building, to place them into emergency accommodation.