Pub boss raised alarm after spotting huge Sunderland blaze

Dermot and Barry Nulty were the first to raise the alarm after the Alex Smiles fire whilst working in their pub, TJ Doyles in Deptford
Dermot and Barry Nulty were the first to raise the alarm after the Alex Smiles fire whilst working in their pub, TJ Doyles in Deptford
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A PUB boss has been praised for raising the alarm on a blaze which threatened to burn down a recycling plant.

Dermot Nulty, who owns TJ Doyles in Hanover Place, Deptford, today told how he was first to spot the blaze at nearby Alex Smiles.

Firecrews tackling a fire at a scarp yard in Deptford, Sunderland last night.

Firecrews tackling a fire at a scarp yard in Deptford, Sunderland last night.

The fire, which could be seen for miles around, took hold in the yard of the plant and was soon shooting 20ft-high flames into the night sky.

“I was at the front of the building when I first saw the flames and called 999,” said Dermot, 30.

“There was billowing smoke and the flames were about 20ft high.

“It looked very serious and I did not know whether they were going to control it.”

His brother Barry, 30, a director at the pub, also witnessed Friday’s inferno.

“I just saw the two huge mounds of rubbish,” he said. “Within 60 minutes those mounds had disappeared and been replaced by flames.

“At around 2am I went and had a look and all you could see was grey smoke, shimmering lights from the fire and a few machines working away.”

A security worker from nearby Liebherr also contacted the emergency services. Now bosses at the recycling plant, established in 1973, have praised those who helped stop the blaze spreading.

A spokesman said: “Alex Smiles Ltd would like to thank Liebherr security personnel and Mr Dermot Nulty, of TJ Doyles public house, for their swift action in raising the alarm and to Impetus Waste management for their support during the incident.

“We are deeply indebted to the emergency services for their combined efforts and professionalism displayed in dealing with the incident and we are justly proud of our members of staff who worked with the fire service personnel tirelessly throughout the night.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers, members of the community and our employees and their families for messages of support.

“Evidence relating to the possible cause of the fire will be passed onto police.”

More than 20 firefighters, along with Smiles’ workers, spent the night tackling the blaze and the plant was open to the public the next day.

Police have now closed investigations into the fire, which it is believed started in a pile of timber.

A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said there were no suspicious circumstances and the incident had been classed as an accident.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is still investigating the cause, but said it does not believe it was malicious.

Alex Smiles moved to the nine-acre riverside site in 2002 and has invested £4million in transforming the business to recycle between 90 and 95 per cent of the waste it collects there.

@janethejourno