A SECURITY guard who fears he has been left homeless after a blaze spread to his chalet has described how he left for work to be “greeted by a wall of heat”.

When Nigel Wilkins, 65, left his home off Colne Way, Point Clear, he noticed his neighbour’s fence had been engulfed by flames.

“The neighbour’s fence at the back was going up, an electricity pole was going up as well,” he said.

“The flames were four to five feet high, they were shooting up.

“Somebody shouted ‘the fire brigade are on the way’ and I chased my cats out and I’m worried sick thinking about what might have happened to them.”

Nigel was due to start a shift as a security guard at Tesco, but instead found himself watching on as the fire began to spread to his roof.

Fire crews battled to contain the flames, which began after an unattended bonfire spread to several properties at 12.10pm yesterday.


Nigel, who lives alone, fears for the lives of his two cats, Kai and Bailey, and is at a loss of what to do about his severely damaged home.

“I hope they come back,” he said.

“You couldn’t ask for two more loving cats.

“One was a stray and I took him in and I’ve had him five or six years, the other was given to me by a woman who couldn’t keep him any more.”


He added: “I will stay at my mate’s in St Osyth, he has kindly agreed to put me up for a couple of nights while we see what’s what.

“I am gutted, but in a way I am just trying to put a brave face on.

“I don’t yet know whether I will be able to salvage anything.

“I have lived here for four or five years.

“I had just come outside to go to work and the heat hit me.”

Essex Fire Service confirmed one chalet was destroyed in the blaze, while another suffered damage to its roof and a third has been affected externally.

Crews were first called to Norman Way and rescued two dogs from the blaze.

A spokesman for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said fire engines from Clacton, Weeley, Brightlingsea and Colchester were called to the scene and sectorised the blaze, dividing into separate areas to ensure crews prevented it from spreading.


He said: “Firefighters worked alongside the electric board to ensure the area, which includes overhead powerlines, was made safe.

“The Red Cross were called to the scene due to the impact the fire has had on several chalets.

“Unfortunately several people have been left homeless.”

The fire was extinguished by 2.33pm.

Station manager Steve Wintrip said: “Firefighters have done a fantastic job here of preventing this fire, which was spreading rapidly when they arrived, from reaching any further chalets.

“As well as it being a warm day, crews were working against the wind from the coast in a challenging situation. This could easily have affected many more people and their property.

“This once again shows how dangerous it can be to leave bonfires unattended.”