FIREFIGHTERS are tackling a large blaze at a turkey processing plant near Chelmsford.

The fire broke out in a farm building in Old Southend Road, Howe Green, just before 9am today.

The 50m by 40m building was reported to be 50 per cent alight, and 100 per cent smoke-logged.

Fire crews from Chelmsford, Great Baddow, Ingatestone, South Woodham Ferrers, Maldon, and Harlow's aerial ladder platform are at the scene.

A water bowser was sent just before 11am.

Shortly afterwards Assistant Divisional Officer Mark Turnball said: "The collapse of the burning building is imminent and crews have been withdrawn from firefighting operations.

"The aerial ladder platform is now in use as a water tower and water is being poured from height to extinguish the fire."

Relief crews were sent in at 12.40pm.

By 2pm the brigade said crews were making steady progress, but 30 per cent of the building remained alight and the property had partially collapsed.

The brigade and Essex Police will carry out a joint investigation into the blaze.

No turkeys are believed to have been in the building.