Residents in the area reported being woken up by ‘a huge explosion’ and plumes of smoke from the fire are visible for miles around the incident area.
Ten fire engines and a height vehicle initially attended the blaze on Vicarage Lane, said the Kent Fire and Rescue Service at around 4.30am. In a more recent update, it said: “Five fire engines remain at the scene of an industrial building fire on Vicarage Lane in Hoo, near Rochester.
“Firefighters are advising the public to avoid the area while the emergency services deal with the incident.
“A large amount of smoke is also coming from the fire, and so those living or working close to the area of the fire and the smoke plume, which includes the Hoo peninsula, are now being advised to close windows and doors as a precaution.”
Witnesses told local newspaper KentOnline they saw gas bottles “rocketing hundreds of feet high” from the fire, which has no immediate known cause.
Joe Discipline, an onlooker from Rochester in Kent, told the PA news agency: “Around 4/4.30am a huge explosion shook the house and windows. I jumped out of bed to see the sky was orange.
“There was then a second explosion just as big and that’s when I started to record.”
Videos posted on social media show the huge flames lighting the sky bright orange and big black plumes of smoke billowing from the building.
Medway Council has advised parents who send their children to school in the immediate area around the fire to check the schools’ website for updates on closures.
A local church, the Hoo St Werburgh Parish Church, offered “refreshments and shelter” to anyone affected by the fire, adding in a statement on its Facebook page: “All are welcome.”
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