Firefighters bring huge scrapyard blaze under control

Byker fire It took about four hours to get the flames under control

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More than 70 firefighters have managed to bring a major blaze at a scrapyard in Newcastle under control.

At the height of the fire in Albion Row, Byker, on Thursday afternoon, roads were closed and smoke could be seen from 30 miles away.

It took 72 Tyne and Wear firefighters about four hours to bring the flames under control. Crews are expected to be at the scene into the night.

One man was taken to hospital suffering from the effects of smoke inhalation.

People living nearby were warned to stay inside because of thick smoke, although it was not thought to be toxic.

Some surrounding roads were closed to traffic to allow emergency crews access to the scene, but they have since reopened.

Lee Herbert took this video of the fire at a scrapyard in Byker, Newcastle, in its early stages

Assistant chief fire officer Tom Capeling, of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said the fire was under control.

But he added: "The fire and rescue service expects fire crews to be at the scene into the night."

He said firefighters had used equipment which could pump out 8,000 litres of water a minute over a distance of 3 km.

At the height of the blaze there were traffic delays along Newcastle Quayside, City Road, Shields Road and Byker Bridge.

'Looks apocalyptic'

Michael Potts, from the Free Trade pub in Byker, said he heard a number of explosions when the fire began.

He said: "We heard several bangs and then saw a lot of smoke."

Gill Gosling, from Whitley Bay said: "It looked dramatic. I've worked in Bradford and I've seen mill fires and this was very dramatic.

Byker fire Smoke was billowing more than 200ft into the air (photo Kev Atkinson)

"Big, black billowing smoke. It started with a very dramatic fire itself. Huge flames. And it was just before noon when we noticed it.

"I have never seen black smoke like it."

Mother-of-two Kath Lowe, 35, of Heaton, was helping tend the allotments at Hotspur Primary School on nearby Mowbray Street in Newcastle when the fire began.

She said: "We were outside with all the kids when suddenly the sky began to fill with black smoke.

"We were watching it pouring upwards when the wind changed direction and the plume began to billow towards the playground.

"We had to get all the kids indoors. the amount of smoke was incredible, and pitch black. It was like the hellmouth had opened."

Sian Thomas, of Byker, said: "I could see the smoke all the way from town. It's just looks apocalyptic. It's quite scary."

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