Dozens of firefighters tackled a massive blaze at a Sunderland car repair workshop.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service was called to A1 Recovery Accident Management, in Hepworth Road, Southwick, at 11.14 am yesterday.
Large plumes of smoke could be seen from miles away as the building was engulfed by the flames.
The fire service sent seven fire crews - with 39 firefighters and four fire service officers - from stations across the brigade area to the scene.
It also despatched with an Aerial Ladder Platform (ALP), command support vehicle and a support appliance.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service Group Manager Peter Iveson paid tribute to efforts of the firefighters who tackled what had been a particularly challenging blaze due to the weather conditions.
“We arrived on scene just five minutes after we received the call at 11.14am,” he said.
“Initially we had four appliances, but moved up to seven, plus our Aerial Ladder Platform due to the severity of the fire.
“Over 40 firefighters, including three officers, from stations Sunderland, Marley Park and South Shields were on scene and quickly stopped the fire from spreading and causing further destruction.
“This was a very difficult fire, and extremely challenging to contain especially under very windy conditions.
“Our firefighters, once again showed their dedication and professionalism to get the job done.
“The investigation into the cause of the fire is still on-going.”
The 21m by 11m workshop was complete destroyed in the blaze, along with two cars and a van which were inside.
A pleasure boat, and six vans which were in the building’s compound were also destroyed, along with a bus and a car parked next door.
Three other cars parked nearby were moderately damaged.
Buildings to either side of the workshop were also damaged by smoke, one severely andf the other moderately.
Firefighters used three monitors, three hose reels and four breathing apparatus to tackle the blaze.
The aerial ladder was sued to oversee the operation.
The cause of the blaze is as yet unknown and investigation are ongoing to determine how it started.