FIREFIGHTERS stopped a garage fire in South Woodham Ferrers from spreading to nearby homes yesterday.

Firefighters were called to a property in Tighfield Walk yesterday (September 22) at 12.35pm when one of the occupants discovered the fire.

Watch manager David Taylor said: "The occupant heard popping and banging and saw the double garage was on fire. She got everyone out of the house, stayed out and called 999 - which is exactly the right thing to do.

"The garage was close to two properties and crews worked really hard to stop it spreading - they did a brilliant job."

The crews fully extinguished the fire by 1.59pm.

Mr Taylor added: "The occupant was testing out batteries on his solar panels but he inadvertently left them connected overnight.

"The batteries overheated and ignited - and the fire spread throughout the garage.

"It may be worth considering a smoke alarm or heat detector in your garage.

"Call our Home Safety team on 0300 303 0088 or email for advice."