The heat from a blaze that gutted two sheds, each with 400 litre heating oil tanks, caused two bungalows to catch fire.

The plume of black smoke from Bendlowes Road, Great Bardfield, could be seen from the A120.

Fortunately, the occupants were not inside at the time, at around 12.20pm.

On-call firefighters from Wethersfield, Dunmow and Braintree managed to stop the fire from completely destroying the homes.

Watch Manager Darren Hockley from Wethersfield said: β€œIt’s testament to the hard work of the crews and our training that we were able to stop further damage to the bungalows by containing the fire.

"The sheds were completely destroyed but by working as a team we were able to ensure minimal damage to the homes themselves and although they are not inhabitable now, they will be able to be repaired.”