FIRE chiefs say it could be some time until the cause of a major blaze at a Hartlepool factory is known.
Cleveland Fire Brigade say they cannot carry out a full investigation into the fire at the disused unit on the Oaksway Industrial Estate in West View until the building is declared safe or is demolished.
Up to 50 firefighters battled the blaze at the former cake factory for four hours on Wednesday night.
Ian Dixon, of Cleveland Fire Brigade, said: “We have carried out an initial assessment of the building in conjunction with Cleveland Police and we are of the view that the building is unsafe to enter.
“This means that the investigation into the cause of the fire won’t be carried out until the building is demolished or declared safe to enter.
“We are in the process of contacting the owners so cannot currently put a timescale on the investigation.
“Clearly, this was an intense fire and as soon as it is safe to enter the scene of the fire our investigation will continue.”
Police believe the fire, which happened at 8pm on Wednesday, may have been deliberate.
Anyone with information is asked to contact PC Holly Angus of Hartlepool Police on (01642) 302178 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.