Joint inquiry under way by police and fire service into major blaze in grounds of Peterlee factory

Police and firefighters are working together to establish the cause of a blaze which led to gas cylinders exploding as a huge plume of smoke was sent into the air.

Friday, 17th May 2019, 17:31 pm

County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) is working alongside Durham Constabulary to establish the circumstances which led to the fire on Peterlee's South West Industrial Estate.

The fire as it raged. Photo taken from a view by Brandon Saiger.

Fire crews and police were called to the scene of the fire, understood to be in the grounds of Star Meats in Gresley Road, at 5.45pm yesterday.

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Buildings in the area were evacuated and access restricted by police as firefighters tackled the blaze, which could be seen for miles around.

CDDFRS's officers remained at the site earlier today as its team ensured the fire was out by continuing to dampen down the area, with further checks made during the afternoon.

Fire appliances on the scene. Photo by Mary Cartwright.

The incident was initially reported as a large container, a stack of wood and acetylene cylinders and numerous LPG cylinders, which caused explosions, leading to a warning for people to stay away from the area.

Today, Durham Constabulary said: "At present there is no indication of any third-party involvement, but inquires are continuing and we have launched a joint fire investigation with County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service."

The brigade sent six fire appliances to the scene, as well as a number of senior officers and a drone, with kit including two jets and one ground monitor used to fight the blaze.

*Video thanks to reader Brandon Saiger.

The fire could be seen for miles after it broke out on the South West Industrial Estate in Peterlee. Photo by Mary Cartwright.
Durham Constabulary was also called to help manage the scene. Photo by Mary Cartwright.