A PILE of rubbish caught fire and nearly spread to a block of flats.

Firefighters were able to stop the spread of the rubbish fire in Radford Way, Billericay on Sunday morning.

Two fire engines were sent to the scene and found the fire was around 15 metres by five metres, with several external bin containers affected.

Aided by high winds, the fire spread quickly and smoke had begun to affect nearby residential premises.

Due to the size of the fire and its location, more than 20 different callers had dialled 999 to inform Control Operators.

Firefighters managed to extinguish the fire by 12.04pm, ensuring the residential building suffered only minor damage.

The cause of the fire has been recorded as undetermined.