A number of people have been evacuated from their homes after a large fire in North Tyneside. Emergency services were called to Wallsend just before 2am on Sunday January 5.
It is understood a large number of tyres may have been set on fire at a tyre yard near to the High Street. Firefighters initially thought gas cylinders had also caught fire and exploded, but this was later ruled out by the commanding officer.
Residents were woken by emergency services and told to leave their homes. A woman who lives directly behind the tyre garage that was on fire told ITV News "I was very scared, because I was starting to cry, thinking I can see how close the fire is. Is it going to hit my house at all?"
A neighbour said ""I just saw a big cloud of smoke. It was just up, an inferno and police running along the doors getting everyone to get out."
Watch Kris Jepson's report here:
Nobody was reported injured in the incident and firefighters spend several hours at the scene to bring the fire under control.
The Anson Pub was used as a temporary rest centre officers remained at the scene to liaise with concerned members of the public.
Residents told ITV News they were in shock following the incident. One man said "It was frightening. I mean, like I say, when I opened the back door I didn’t expect to be hit by just a wall of heat. It was literally, you know, unbelievable."
Another man said "I seen police running up and down the street. They were shouting “get out, get out”, so I literally ran across, got myself ready and literally I came running out."
Neighbours from nearby streets also heard the explosions, with one woman telling ITV News "I just heard a big explosion, which I knew wasn’t a firework or a gun shot, because it was too loud. It actually shook the building."
Residents who live in the immediate area but have not been evacuated were asked to keep their windows closed as a precaution.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service told ITV News the fire appeared to have started in the tyre garage, but spread to an NHS building next door.
At its height the incident had slightly less than 40 people here, eight fire appliances and specials as well. It’s also spread to the adjacent NHS health centre and it’s spread under the floorboards there. None of the cylinders actually exploded in there. It could have been tyres exploding, etc, things like that. It was a very, very well developed fire. I think there’s somewhere approaching six vehicles in there. All of them are completely destroyed.