Thousands evacuated from their homes as toxic illegal tyre dump fire billows smoke into sky

The tyre dump was declared illegal in 2003 Credit: Reuters

More than 9,000 people have been evacuated from an apartment complex after a fire at a tyre dump sent toxic clouds of black smoke into the sky.

About 8,000 apartment dwellers had already left their homes in Sesena, near Madrid, Spain, as the smoke poured out from the fire that started before dawn on Friday.

Officials said ambulances had been sent to the complex to evacuate people with health problems who could not leave on their own.

The order was issued because weather conditions were expected to change overnight, raising the risk that the smoke could inundate the apartment complex even as firefighters reported progress in trying to bring the fire under control.

The dump is less than six miles from the complex.

By Friday night, approximately 70% of the tyres had been burned, but officials are unsure when the blaze will go out.

No injuries have so far been reported, while the smoke can be seen from Madrid - some 20 miles away.

Known locally as the "tyre cemetery," the dump was declared illegal in 2003 because it lacked proper permits.