MORE than 30 firefighters spent three hours tackling a huge blaze after 700 tonnes of tyre chippings went up in flames.
The raging fire in Tofts Farm Industrial Estate, off Brenda Road, in Hartlepool, could be seen for miles around, with black smoke engulfing the sky yesterday.
Fire crews from Hartlepool, Billingham and Middlesbrough rushed to the industrial estate after receiving several reports about the blaze, which started in a compound.
Two buildings next to the compound had to be evacuated shortly after the fire started at 11.20am yesterday.
Five appliances, the emergency tender and a hydraulic platform all raced to the site and worked at the scene until the fire was finally put out at 2.20pm.
Firefighters remained on site last night as a precaution to dampen the area down and make sure the blaze didn’t start up again.
It was initially thought that the fire, near to the Mayfair Centre, in Seaton Carew, had been triggered by a coal heap igniting.
But it was later confirmed as tyre chippings which were alight.
Fire chiefs will today start an investigation into the cause of the blaze.
A Cleveland Fire Brigade spokeswoman told the Mail: “We received a lot of calls at about 11.20am from people who had spotted the smoke.
“Seven hundred tonnes of tyre chippings were alight and five appliances, an emergency tender and a hydraulic platform attended.
“The fire was in a compound and two nearby buildings had to be evacuated shortly after the fire started.
“They weren’t in any danger but they were evacuated just in case the wind direction changed and blew the fire towards the buildings.
“The cause of the fire is now going to be under investigation.”