DETECTIVES are appealing for witnesses following a flat fire which is believed to have been started deliberately.

Firefighters were called to reports of a flat fire this morning (July 26) at about 7.15am in Market Street, Braintree.

Crews from Braintree and Coggeshall attended and were advised a small fire was burning in the communal hallway of the premises.

The fire started in one flat but the occupants of all four flats in the building were evacuated for their safety.

No-one was reported to have been hurt.

Firefighters extinguished the fire by 8am, managing to restrict the damage to the hallway area in the process.

An investigation alongside Essex Police is underway this morning into the cause of the fire.

Essex Police were also called to the scene shortly after 7.15am this morning.

An Essex Police spokesman confirmed it is believed the fire was started deliberately and officers are making enquiries into the circumstances.

He added: “Witnesses and anyone with information are asked to contact Braintree CID on 101 quoting incident 297 of July 26.

“You can also report online at

“Alternatively, you can contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or via”