A BEACH hut was badly damaged after going up in flames before fast-thinking firefighters prevented the blaze from engulfing other chalets.

Fire crews, from Clacton and Frinton, were called to an area of Southcliff promenade, near Pier Approach, in Walton, just after 8pm on Saturday.

Upon arrival they established a beach hut was on fire so quickly worked to extinguish the blaze, managing to stop it from destroying neighbouring units.

A spokeswoman for the Essex County Fire and Rescue Service has since said the cause of blaze was recorded as “accidental or deliberate.”

Emma Tarling, 34, spotted the inferno while cleaning a different beach hut two rows in front and immediately called the fire service.

“I heard a crackle and walked out to see a small fire from the side of the hut,” she added.

“It was quite scary to think how quickly it took hold of the hut.

“Some teenagers who offered to grab sea water to put it out but as there was likely gas in there I advised them not to as it could explode.”

Read more:

Melanie Whitehead, chairwoman of the Beach Hut Owners Association of Walton, said she believes the hut was not a victim of a break-in.

She said: “It is terrible for the hut owner concerned to lose their hut in this way.

“The hut was not broken into and the fire seems to have started underneath or inside.

“We are just so thankful the alarm was raised by Emma Tarling and the fire was extinguished before it could spread to neighbouring huts.”

The latest incident comes after a beach hut in Walton was previously ravaged by a fire and 12 Frinton beach huts were completely destroyed in 2019.

In 2017, four beach huts, also located on the Southcliff promenade, were also ruined after an arson attack.

Melanie has now warned other hut owners to be mindful of leaving flammable materials within their chalets.

“[The fire] may have been smouldering for a while, so make sure all rubbish is cleared from underneath and around your hut,” she said.

“Make sure all cigarettes are extinguished carefully and gas bottles are switched off when you leave your hut at night.”