Local residents told to ‘stay inside and keep windows and doors shut’ after smoke billows above Durham City Centre as fire crews tackle huge building site blaze at city’s old passport office
- Eight fire crews are tackling a cavity wall fire at a new building site in Durham
- Photographs showed thick plumes of smoke billowing above the city centre
- The fire service confirmed the blaze was contained to a cavity wall at the site
- Nearby residents were urged to stay indoors and keep doors and windows shut
Local residents have been warned to stay inside and keep their windows shut as fire crews are tackling a large blaze at a Durham building site.
Eight fire crews have been using water jets to tackle a huge blaze after a cavity wall outside the new Milburngate development in the city centre caught fire on Wednesday afternoon.
It was initially believed that there was an explosion at the site, which used to be a passport office, but County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service confirmed there were no reports of an explosion.
Firefighters from Durham, Spennymoor, High Handenhold and Newton Aycliffe were called to deal with the blaze just after 2pm.
Photographs showed thick plumes of smoke billowing above the city as firefighters rushed to the scene to deal with the blaze.
Eight fire crews are on the scene after a cavity wall that runs outside the Milburngate building site in Durham caught fire on Wednesday afternoon. Pictured: Smoke at the scene
Fire service area manager Keith Wanley confirmed the blaze was contained to the cavity wall and said eight fire crews were using water jets to control the blaze.
Mr Wanley insisted there had been no reports of an explosion, adding: ‘What the public may see is smoke swelling up as the wind changes direction, which may have given them concern.’
He urged people to avoid the area and advised residents in nearby properties to stay indoors and keep their doors and windows shut.
A statement posted to Twitter by County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service at 3.20pm read: ‘Eight crews are at the scene of a fire at the Milburngate development.
‘We would like to confirm there are no reports of an explosion and we are dealing with large fire in the construction site.
‘Please avoid the area and find an alternative route home.’
Photographs showed thick plumes of smoke billowing above the city as firefighters rushed to the scene just after 2pm to deal with the blaze
Arriva North East confirmed that all services were disrupted due to the fire in the city centre, but trains are still operating as normal.
An Arriva statement added: ‘Services will pick up as follows:- Wharton Park(North Road) Services 61, 62, 64 and X12. Sutton Street – all other Arriva services.’
Mary Kelly Foy, the MP for the City of Durham, urged people to ‘stay safe’ and ‘avoid the area completely’.
Police and ambulance service are in also attendance, while the fire service confirmed they would be at the scene for a number of hours.
A Durham Constabulary statement read: ‘Fire crews are currently at the scene of a fire in the Milburngate development in Durham City.
‘Milburngate Bridge is currently closed, as are Framwellgate Peth and Crossgate Peth.
‘We are asking people to avoid the area and find an alternative route.’
A spokesperson for the North East Ambulance Service said: ‘We were called at 2.09 to reports of a fire at the Milburngate development in Durham city centre.
‘We have dispatched three vehicles from our Hazard Area Response Team and a double crewed ambulance. We are currently still on the scene.’
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