Published: 12:38, 23 February 2021
| Updated: 17:15, 23 February 2021
Homes had to be evacuated after a fire ripped through the roof of a neighbouring block of unoccupied new flats in the Ebbsfleet valley.
Crews were called to Redrow's new homes development in Southfleet Road at around 11am today.
Six fire engines, including a height vehicle, and a bulk water carrier were in attendance and crews wore breathing apparatus while working to extinguish the blaze. The incident was declared clear around 4pm.
Thick smoke flumes were spotted coming from a block of flats behind the Spring River Marston's Inn and the Co-op.
The building was still under construction.
An adjacent block of flats was evacuated as a precaution but residents have since been allowed to return.
Ebbsfleet resident Danielle Hart said: "All we know at the moment is the solar panels were alight while builders where inside the building still working.
"We live opposite and just saw the flames, but when we got closer the builders said all their belongings were still inside and they weren't allowed back in due to it currently needing to be inspected by the fire department."
Redrow has since confirmed the fire took place at its Ebbsfleet development.
Managing director Ben Fewsdale said: “We can confirm a fire took place earlier today in the roof space of an unoccupied block of flats at Ebbsfleet Garden Village.
"The building, containing 15 unoccupied flats, was under construction at the time."
One Redrow employee was taken to hospital as a precaution.
Mr Fewsdale added: "We’d like to thank Kent Fire Brigade and we will be working with them, and other partners, to ensure the affected area is contained and to understand the cause of the fire.”
Reports the blaze may have started from solar panels have not been confirmed by the fire service.
At 4.30pm, a fire service spokesman said: "Firefighting operations at the scene of a roof fire on Southfleet Road near Swanscombe are complete and the fire is now out.
"Crews used hose reel jets and a height vehicle to extinguish the blaze. The cause has not yet been confirmed."