Leeds & West Yorkshire

Huge fire on Leeds industrial estate

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Media captionIan Dunkley, from West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, said they were trying to get to the seat of the fire

A huge fire on an industrial estate in Leeds has sent flames and a large plume of smoke up over the city.

Up to 80 firefighters tackled the blaze at Tradpak, a chemical packaging and recycling firm in Armley, which started at about 01:50 BST.

People in the city centre area have been warned to keep windows and doors closed due to potentially hazardous chemicals on the site.

By 10:00 BST crews had been scaled back as they bought the fire under control.

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Media captionEyewitness Gemma Rathbone: "We could see massive clouds of thick black smoke"

Nearby roads were closed and buildings including a nightclub were evacuated.

The fire service said the building, which is close to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the River Aire, was used for chemical storage and there was a large amount of chemicals and cylinders at the site.

They said fire crews from across Leeds were tackling the fire.

'Like Armageddon'

Anja Swan, a student at Leeds Metropolitan University, said she heard explosions that sounded like thunder.

"I called my friend and they said they could see a fire so we had a walk down", she said.

"We could see massive, massive clouds of thick black smoke, just billowing out into the air. We could see this even from our house about half a mile or so away.

Image copyright Gemma Rathbone
Image caption Gemma Rathbone took this picture after being woken by the noise of explosions from the fire

"There were fireballs shooting. It was really ferocious. Like Armageddon.

"There were quite a lot of people on the streets who had been evacuated from buildings.

"It's a really huge fire. It was really quite scary. It was absolutely massive."

Area fire manager Ian Dunkley, urged people not come to watch crews dealing with the fire, which has been "surrounded".

"The initial crews were trying to protect surrounding properties and, in fact, we've saved three surrounding businesses which will be available to open tomorrow," he said.

Crews are expected to remain at the scene throughout the day.

Image copyright Anja Swan
Image caption Anja Swan said she could see massive clouds of thick black smoke

Some Twitter users said they had been in the nearby Canal Mills nightclub when it was evacuated because of the fire.

Pat Hickey wrote: "Got evacuated from Canal Mills. Leeds is on fire."

Gemma Rathbone, who lives about half a mile from the site of the fire, said she was woken up by loud bangs at about 02:30 BST.

"They kept going so I thought I'd look on Twitter and sure enough it said there was a fire," she said.

"I got up and looked out of the window and I could see all the smoke billowing out into the air. It was really thick black smoke."

Ms Rathbone said she and her housemate drove down to the estate and the roads were already blocked off by the police but there were large numbers of people about.

"There were lots of people who had just come out of the club. It's on an industrial estate but there seemed to be a lot of people about, I don't know if it was people who were walking home from town. We were there for about an hour and taxis were pulling up and a bus stopped.

"It was just huge, absolutely massive, there was lots and lots of black smoke and there were still explosions. You could see when the fire got to a new bit of the building because there would be more explosions, it would go bang."

Image copyright Angela Baxter
Image caption The fire has continued to burn throughout the night and the fire service expects to stay at the scene all day

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