Leeds & West Yorkshire

Bradford mill fire prompts evacuations

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Media captionThe fire at Drummonds Mill in Manningham started in the basement

Homes in part of Bradford have been evacuated after a fire broke out at a former mill in the city.

The blaze at Drummonds Mill, on Lumb Lane in Manningham, is being tackled by around 100 firefighters.

It began before 11:30 GMT in the basement of the four-storey building which is currently used for storage.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue said the evacuations were a precautionary measure due to high levels of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere.

People were removed from around 100 homes in Lumb Lane, Manningham Lane and Grosvenor Road and were taken to the Richard Dunn Sports Centre.

Staff at the centre said around 28 people remained there and they were not expecting anymore people.

Nayim Rahman, who lives opposite the mill, said: "Pieces of debris were falling from the sky and the thick, black fog in the air was hurting my throat.

"The whole street just started panicking. Fire crews were just rushing everyone out. It was crazy."

Mr Rahman said those evacuated had not been told when it would be safe to return home.

Image copyright Adrian Rhodes
Image caption Huge plumes of smoke could be seen above the city's skyline for hours
Image copyright Videl Velsmord
Image caption As night fell the extent of the blaze was obvious
Image copyright Videl Velsmord
Image caption The fire began in the basement of the building but spread throughout the four-storey building
Image copyright West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
Image caption The fire service said it expected to remain at the scene for "some time"

The fire service urged people in Manningham, about a mile north of the city centre, to keep their doors and windows closed.

Acting chief fire officer Dave Walton said conditions had been extremely difficult: "It is tremendously hot in there so crews are working hard to get to the fire.

"It is very thick smoke and intensely hot and very difficult to get to the fire to get water on to it.

"Because of how hard the crews are working in the basement, we are having to recycle them very, very quickly.

"They are working in 20-minute sections with the breathing apparatus and then they need relieving by another crew."

Mr Walton said it was too early to identify what had caused the blaze.

Image copyright Thomas Swift
Image caption Smoke and flames from the blaze could be seen across Bradford
Image caption The Yorkshire Ambulance Service assisted in the evacuation operation

BBC Look North's Heidi Tomlinson said a concrete ceiling in the basement was "intensifying" the heat, making it difficult for firefighters to tackle the source of the fire.

The fire service said the flames spread from the basement to parts of the roof and the priority was to prevent them reaching neighbouring buildings.

Dan Lane, who works in the centre of Bradford, told the BBC it was one of the largest blazes he has seen in the city.

"There is a huge orange glow and massive plume of black cloud right across the centre of Bradford. It is hard to describe just how enormous it is," he said.

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