A fire breaks out near Southend United’s Roots Hall stadium with emergency services at the scene tackling the blaze and the smoke.
Firefighters have arrived next to the ground, which is the home of the relegated League Two club, after smoke was seen billowing out of the ground on Monday night.
According to the Southend Echo‘s Chris Phillips, the smoke was coming from the corner of the car park close to the South Stand.
Four fire-service crews arrived on the scene to help tackle the problem, with people now being asked to avoid the area and keep doors and windows closed if they live nearby with smoke seen for miles.
It is the second time in the space of two years thick smoke such as this has been seen emerging from Southend’s home since the 1950s, as a similar incident also arose in 2019.
Further reports suggest the smoke could in fact be coming from the set of AstroTurf pitches in close proximity to the stadium, an investigation will be carried out.
Councillor Kevin Buck gave an update: “Update on Roots Hall fire. Attended this evening, fire is in the community trust. Astro Turf stock pile. 2nd time this has happened, CM suspect arson. FB say it will smoulder for a few days unless removed. All under control. Thanks very much to our blue light services, Hero’s!”
Fire alarms are understood to be alerted throughout Roots Hall as the service crews continue to tackle the flames by laying out more hoses to reach the fire for hours on end.
Essex Fire Service said there were still four pumps in attendance in Roots Hall Avenue by 8pm. Two of them were from Southend, one from Leigh and the other from Rochford.
Eyewitness Hayley McDonald was in her friend’s garden nearby when she saw the smoke.
The intensive care nurse said: “I knew it wasn’t just a barbecue. I rang the fire brigade.
“It wasn’t just the artificial grass, I think a building was also engulfed.
“I felt sad for the fire brigade, it’s not good.”
It has been a disappointing past few months for the Shrimpers, who were sent packing to the fifth tier of English football after being relegated from League Two last season.
Their fate was sealed on May 1 despite a 2-1 win away at Barrow as they also needed one of Colchester or Scunthorpe to suffer defeat to stand any chance of staying up.
And Colchester ran out 1-0 winners at home to Salford City, while Scunthorpe picked up a 0-0 draw away at Bradford.
Southend desperately tried to save their Football League status by sacking manager Mark Molesley back in April.
Former boss Phil Brown ended up returning in an attempt to keep them afloat, however in the end his efforts were in vain as they were sent plummeting down to the fifth tier.
The club find themselves outside of the EFL for the first time in 101 years, despite being 17 points clear of safety in League One before the 2019/20 season was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
They were eventually relegated from League One on a points-per-game basis, which proved the start of a miserable downward spiral for the club.
Fans reacted on social media as the fire breaks out at Southend United’s Roots Hall stadium…
Fire near roots hall pic.twitter.com/IbWmfFhqJl
— steve reade (@sterr53) June 7, 2021
I always said if Terrell Egbri ran any faster he’d start smoking
— D3D4Football (@d3d4football) June 7, 2021
@bigdaver84: it will be Phil Brown trying to top up his tan
@DaveEdwardsuk1: Most exciting thing to happen at Roots Hall all season. I can see the smoke from my house
@elliotbaytowerz: “What do you prefer Rodney, astroturf or grass?”………..”I don’t know I’ve never smoked astroturf”.
@harrybr89737483: Got to be an insurance job
@Bluntswood: Insurance job by Ron?!
@tedwassonasong: Finally, someone had the guts to burn Southend to the ground
@naad63: It’s the XXXXXL Nike home shirts they couldn’t knock out for a fiver a pop
@lillatimer: Finally some entertainment at the hall
@DrugganLuke: It’s ron making his move!
@SonnyGilbert12: Roots hall on fire. I can smell a insurance job here. Dodgy Ron up to his old tricks again
@Tedder2K_CUFC: that’s one way to get a higher transfer budget I guess 😂😂
@ShrimpersTalk: Ok who’s burnt the onions? Wait a second Roots Hall don’t do onions
@BenTatam1: i’ve seen Michael Turner move quicker than that
@DeanofWestcliff: First thing that’s been on fire anywhere near that pitch since 2005.
@karlm14: I hope they get to the root of the problem
@Katy_Ashford81: Phil Brown has left the tanning bed plugged in again 🙄
@owenjones539: Sums up the season doesn’t it! Nice little insurance claim for Ron tho I assume
@darren_kilshaw: Some asbestos in the stadium roofs there I bet!
@mattysufc: It’s the Astro turf again by the looks of it. Surprise surprise Ron didn’t learn anything from this happening a few years ago.
@JosepMourinho: Probably Ron Martin looking to cash in on some insurance
Ron Martin walking out of roots hall rn pic.twitter.com/wOM6yGoZ4z
— James (@James___Whiff) June 7, 2021
Ron Martin when he gets called to say Roots Hall is on fire: pic.twitter.com/wYCEKROAUJ
— Floyd Cooper (@floyddcooper) June 7, 2021