The Triangle Shops Fire 3rd January 2013.

A whole block of Langdon Hills shops lost.

As we left Basildon Town Centre today at 3 pm after a short shopping trip, we noticed some smoke rising into the sky.  It appeared to becoming from close to where we live just south of Laindon Station and was obviously a substantial fire.  As we drove along Laindon Link, the smoke became thicker and blacker.  We switched on the car radio and heard a news report about a fire that had started in the roof of a shop at the Triangle in Langdon Hills that the fire service were battling to bring under control.  Upon arriving home, our neighbours were standing outside watching the smoke.  We chatted to them for a few minutes then took our shopping inside and decided to go and investigate. 

The High Road was blocked, so we drove along Berry Lane and parked in Roseberry Avenue.  We walked along Berry Lane among many others who were also making their way and stood outside the gates of Lincewood School.  The fire was well established and black smoke was billowing up high and heading eastwards towards Basildon.  At least two dozen emergency service personnel were on site including Fire Fighters and Policemen.  There were also vehicles from the Gas Board and Water Board parked nearby plus two Paramedics.  From here we could see that the whole of the roof was ablaze.  An aerial platform had been positioned above the building from where a hose pipe was being trained on the roof.  Several other hose pipes were being trained on the building from ground level.

Talking to others in the crowd, we learned that the fire had apparently been started due to an electrical fault in one shop which had blown some windows out and then quickly spread to the shop next door.  Upon hearing the explosion, staff had quickly ushered the customers outside.  The fire services received the call at 1:50 pm and although they appeared to have the situation under control, the fire was well established and kept flaring up.  By 4 pm the Fire Fighters were breaking off the wooden sides of the shop and we could see that the fire had spread through the whole block of shops. 

As far as we are aware, nobody was hurt thank goodness but our thoughts are with the staff who are obviously very shocked.   We came away at 4:15 pm just as the light had started to fade, knowing that it would be many hours before the fire would burn out completely and those in attendance were in for a long evening, possibly all night.

The shops involved were a newsagents/post office/small supermarket, a fish and chip shop, Chinese takeaway and a beauty parlour.  

In Berry Lane, fighting the fire in the roof.
Nina Humphrey
View from the High Road, Langdon Hills.
Colin Humphrey
Aerial platform in front of the shops
Colin Humphrey
Approaching Triangle Shops from Berry Lane
Nina Humphrey
The aftermath, Friday morning 4.1.2013.
Colin Humphrey
A close view of the devastation.
John Barnes.

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  • I live on Berry Lane, corner of Emanuel Road. I remember that day, I was in Lakeside when my friend got a call from his brother in Valance Way about a fire. On the way home I saw smoke from the A13. When we got to the High Road there was a police cordon, my sister asked if it was the shops and they replied it was really bad and we had to go back via Staneway and Hatterill.

    By Josh (11/07/2019)
  • My Mum and Dad, Margaret and Monty Roper, myself and my brother Ken Roper all lived on the triangle next to St Mary’s Church Hall, in Langdon Hills. Our garden went from Langdon Hills, High Road, all the way down to Berry Lane. I can still see all the big trees that were at the bottom of our garden. What a shame that Basildon Corporation decided to buy our house for peanuts, then ruin all of Langdon Hills. My Dad asked for permission to build a bungalow at the bottom of our garden and was refused saying it was GREEN BELT land. I still have all his letters from MP etc. This was around 1957.

    By Patsy Spendlove (20/02/2018)
  • As a relatively new resident of Langdon Hills I am being told that there have been previous fires at this site, but having googled it I can’t find any information. I remember when the hall had the fire, but not the shops. Can anyone enlighten me?

    By Sally Ewin (05/01/2013)
  • I recently heard that a supermarket at the Triangle Shops burnt down in 1999.

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (05/01/2013)
  • Hi Sally, yes there was a devastating fire on 3rd September 2006 in the building that is now used by the British Legion, at that that time it was being used as the Basildon Islamic Centre. The building structure was completely destroyed, the rebuilt centre was opened in early 2008. Apparently the fire was started deliberately but it is not clear whether the culprit or culprits were ever brought to justice. The links below will take you to the Echo newspaper archives and give further details of events around the fire.

    By Colin Humphrey (05/01/2013)
  • There have been a number of fires in the shops over the years some of which were considered to be of suspicious causes. They were mostly centred on the Chinese and the fish and chip shop takeaways.

    By Ian Mott (05/01/2013)
  • The triangle shops where burnt down in late 1979 or early 1980. This was an act of arson the shops had not been open very long

    By Barry Ellerby (05/01/2013)
  • What a real shame for the local area and also the people who own and run these shops. it is going to be a long time before we have any shops there again, they will be really missed.

    By Judith Webb (04/01/2013)

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