A WAREHOUSE filled with lithium batteries went up in flames during the early hours before eight fire crews rushed to extinguish the blaze.

Firefighters were called to a completely smoke-logged commericial building in Great Notley at 1.15am on Sunday.

The crews had been deployed form stations Wethersfield, Braintree, Chelmsford, Coggeshall, Witham, Rayleigh Weir, Sible Hedingham and Colchester.

After arriving at the scene drones were used to assess the incident and thermal imaging cameras were able to pinpoint the crucial areas in the building.

It was soon established the fire had started in an area storing used lithium batteries. 

In total the inferno was battled by between 40 and 50 firefighters, many of whom needed breathing apparatuses and an aerial ladder platform in order to be able to pour water on the building

Braintree and Witham Times:

Incident Commander Howard Midwood said: "Our firefighters have worked tirelessly throughout the incident and have shown skill and dedication in very challenging conditions.

"Thanks also to our partners, the Salvation Army and the site staff.

"Because lithium batteries are involved, extinguishing the fire is a longer process than usual."

Fire crews said they expected to be at the scene for some time but would "work to bring the incident to a close as safely and quickly" as they could.