THIS is the first look inside the fire-ravaged Tilbury Power Station.

Burnt-out frames and charred machinery show how searingly hot the blaze must have been at times.

Heroic crews from across Essex battled for hours to contain the flames and to prevent a “serious” incident turning into an unprecended disaster.

Instead of water hose reels, crews were armed with the lighter weapon of mass expansion foam.

They have so far used enough foam to fill 308 double decker buses.

Essex Fire’s deputy chief Adam Eckley praised crews, saying: “Their excellent work in a dark, smoke-filled environment contained the fire to two of eight hoppers in the building.

“We have been using high expansion foam because it's light and will not affect the weight of the hoppers carrying dry pellets of wood like water would.”

Specialist equipment including three high-expansion foam generators were brought in to give crews the best shot of success.

Such generators are normally used to tackle big woodland blazes or fires in mines, aircraft hangers and ships.

Deputy chief fire officer Mr Eckley added: “The conditions were punishing and dangerous. The building was hot, full of smoke and extremely dusty, but they are doing a fantastic job.”