A BLAZE which tore through a former warehouse is being treated as suspicious.
The alarm was raised after a police officer on patrol spotted the fire in Alexandra Business Park in Woodbine Terrace in Pallion at 5.40pm yesterday.
Around 30 firefighters and officers spent several house tackling the fire, with help called in from County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service’s aerial ladder platform, with a crews still on scene today.
Police are appealing for witnesses and have asked anyone who was in the area and who may have seen or heard anything suspicious is asked to contact them.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said the fire was well developed and found to have involved cylinders when officers arrived.
Assistant Chief Fire Officer John Baines said: “Emergency crews and officers worked well to bring this large fire under control and remained throughout the night to maintain operations to ensure a successful outcome.
“The building contained significant amounts of combustible materials and a number of gas cylinders, many of which vented and exploded during the early stages of the fire. “During this time a large area of the roof also collapsed.
“Three fire appliances and crews have remained at the scene to cool the cylinders and tackle hot spots within the building and will remain in attendance for the rest of the day.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The FBU’s industrial action began at 6pm on Friday and will continue until 6pm today.
During the industrial action Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service says it is providing a limited response, with a reduced number of fire resources strategically placed across the area to minimise risk and the get to incidents as fast as possible.
It also says its attendance at incidents is prioritised according to the risk to life and property.
Anyone with information should contact police on 101, extension 69191, quoting log number 1055 of 02/11/14 or ring the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.