Nearly 40 elderly residents have been evacuated from their sheltered accomodation after their homes were flooded last night.

A burst water tank in the loft of Robert Daniels Court, in Thrifts Mead, Theydon Bois, Epping caused flooding throughout the building.

Firefighters from Epping and Loughton were called to the home at 7:10pm yesterday and helped the Red Cross Essex Fire and Emergency Support Services to evacuate the building.

The building was quickly declared as unsafe and all 36 residents were evacuated and asked to spend the night with family or at a nearby hotel paid for by the housing firm, Home Group.

A plumber and electrician both arrived at the home just before 9:30pm and fire crews carried out work to make the home safe just after 10:30pm.

Jo Huxtable, Home Group interim client services director, said:

"We’ve turned off the mains supply after a faulty valve in the roof space led to water leaking into communal areas and flats.

"The safety and comfort of our customers is our priority. We’ll repair the valve as quickly as possible but before anyone can move back in we’ll also need to inspect the electrics.

"Some customers have chosen to stay with family and for others we’re paying for hotel accommodation which includes a meal allowance. We hope customers will be able to return on Monday and we’ll offer all the support we can during the weekend."