Firefighters battle blaze at waste recycling plant in Sunderland
Almost 50 firefighters are dealing with a blaze which has broken out at a scrapyard in Sunderland this evening.
Fire crews are currently in attendance in the Deptford area to deal with the blaze at the former Alex Smiles waste management site, in Deptford Terrace.
A total of 45 firefighters have been on the scene.
Roads have been closed by police in the meantime.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is advising all residents to avoid the area and keep their doors and windows closed.
The service tweeted:" We are currently dealing with a large fire in the #Deptford area of #Sunderland.
"This can be seen from some distance.
"There are currently five fire appliances dealing with the incident."
Fifty workers lost their jobs in 2015 when Alex Smiles bosses called in administrators.
Leah Purdy, a membership consultant at Xercise4Less gym in Southwick, directly opposite on the other side of the River Wear, said: "We just saw a little cloud of smoke and then it seemed to get bigger.
"We went upstairs to have a better look and it sort of exploded and there was smoke everywhere.
"You can't see anything now because of the smoke."
Northumbria Police have tweeted: "Police are aware of a fire at Deptford, Sunderland.
"There are a number of road closures in place while emergency services deal with the fire.
"Please follow diversions and avoid the area."