Fire investigators are today trying to find out what sparked a huge blaze at a Sunderland scrapyard from which smoke could be seen across the city.
The blaze at Ward Bros (Steel) Ltd, at Sheepfolds Industrial Estate, just 400 yards from the Stadium of Light, started shortly before midday yesterday.
Fire crews from Sunderland Central, Farringdon and Washington were called to the scene after staff at the scrapyard raised the alarm. They spent two and a half hours bringing the blaze under control.
Officers used an aerial ladder platform to put out the fire while other hose reels were used on the ground.
Thankfully, no-one was hurt although much damage was done to an office building inside the yard.
Traffic was closed off on the road outside the yard, with many people passing on cars or on foot with Sunderland University graduation ceremonies taking place at the stadium this week.
The premises staff evacuated and did the right thing by calling us.Mark Gerrard, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service
Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) structural advisers from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service were also called to the incident as the two-storey brick building was believed to be in danger of collapsing.
“The cause of the fire is under investigation and that will be to ascertain the cause and exactly how it started,” said Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s Mark Gerrard, who is group manager responsible for Sunderland.
“When our crews arrived at the scene the fire was developing very quickly, but thanks to their swift intervention they were able to isolate the building and stop it spreading to the rest of the scrapyard.
“The professionalism of our firefighters stopped the fire from developing into a significantly larger scale incident that may have taken days rather than hours to resolve.”
“Thankfully everybody is fine. The premises staff evacuated and did the right thing by calling us.”
The smoke could be seen for miles around, with many people on social media initially concerned that the Stadium of Light was ablaze.
“I walked around here from my cousin’s and couldn’t believe it,” said SAFC fan Gary Caffrey, 38, of High Barnes.
“It’s a right mess and the roof’s totally gone in.
“I thought it was the stadium that was one fire at first and worried our season was over before it’s even begun!
“At least the fire service got it under control.”