‘Leeds is on Fire’


    A huge fire on an industrial estate in Leeds has sent flames soaring into the sky, and a large smoke plume looming over the city.

    Fire service area manager Ian Dunkley told BBC Breakfast: “We were called out at approximately 2am this morning to a large fire in a chemical recycling plant.

    “Unfortunately, that's spread to an adjacent building that does commercial packaging.

    “We've had approximately 80 firefighters on scene.

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

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

    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.

    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.”

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

    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.

    People said on Twitter that they had been evacuated from the Canal Mills nightclub, which is on the industrial estate, with one posting a picture and adding: “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."


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