A fire has broken out in a depot in Hartlepool believed to store council vehicles.
Five fire crews were called to Lynn Street at about 5.40am, today, after the alarm was raised.
Black smoke could be seen streaming from the building as firefighters tackled the blaze.
Adam Pascoe, who was at work in a building opposite the depot, said: "I was at work in the building over the road from the depot when I saw a flashlight being shone across the depot. When I looked out I saw one fire engine and a few firemen struggling to get into the gated compound.
"After five or so minutes they managed to get one of the outside gates open. Then more and more fire engines arrived and we started to see black smoke escaping from the cracks in the doors of the building."
A spokesman for Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “A gritter parked in the Lynn Street depot was badly damaged overnight in a fire which is believed to have been caused by an electrical fault on a small generator unit which powers the vehicle’s gritting mechanism.
“The fire triggered an alarm at approximately 5.15am this morning. The fire was limited to the vehicle and no-one was hurt in the incident.
“When gritting the town’s roads in a full deployment scenario we would use three vehicles. The damaged gritter is currently out of action but we do have a reserve vehicle so we would
wish to reassure residents of the town that this incident should have no effect on gritting operations.”